Er innovation for alle eller for specialisterne?
Der findes rigtig mange gode bud på, hvordan man skaber en god og effektiv innovationskultur.
I Danmark og resten af Skandinavien har vi en lang tradition for demokrati, også når det kommer til vores arbejdsplads. Det er vigtigt for os, at alle medarbejdere bliver inddraget på et vist niveau, når vi skal udvikle og udklække banebrydende innovationer. Men der må på den anden side ikke gå rundbordssamtale i den med en masse folk, som selv synes, de har gode idéer, men som ikke er trænede i at skille skidt fra kanel.
Rupert Millington giver nedenfor sit kontante bud på, hvorfor inddragelse er vigtig, men også hvorfor innovation bør og skal være en specialistfunktion med eksperter, der repræsenterer de interessenter, som virksomheder må og skal have in mente, når der skabes nye produkter og processer.
Af Rupert Millington
The trouble with innovation is that it’s far too interesting.
Combine this with the popular belief that “everyone can have a good idea” and the fact that innovation often has far-reaching consequences inside an organisation, and before you know it everyone wants a piece of the action.
And that’s when cross-function turns into dysfunction: huge project teams, wildly over-democratic decision-making, and – worst of all – unqualified people playing at what ought to be a specialist skill. We wouldn’t dream of doing this in any other area of business for the simple reason that the results would be awful. When was the last time your company put together a team of enthusiastic amateurs to make decisions on financial governance, HR, sales strategy, or production engineering? Never, hopefully.
The best innovation isn’t run as a democracy: it’s a specialist function run by a small team of empowered experts (we call it an Editorial Team) who have the skills, resources and authority to do a great job. Great innovators know how to draw upon the opinion and brilliance of others, and they also make a crystal-clear distinction between that expert opinion and expert decision-making.
It’s why Curious Industry’s friends at Unilever have created Pitch – their state-of-the-art innovation lab in the heart of London. Much more than a workshop venue, it acts as a centre of excellence and a base for their expert team of internal innovation consultants. These are full-time, dedicated professionals whose job it is to advise brand teams on project design and to make sure that they have access to the very best skills and leading-edge thinking on innovation. Unilever’s Pitch is a serious, high-profile commitment not just to innovation, but to innovation as a pivotal, specialist business skill.
The same principle applies with another one of our clients: AbbVie Pharmaceuticals. Having recognized the need to make innovation a key skill for a select group rather than an occasional hobby for the many, they’ve employed us to help them train up selected members of staff as Innovation Practitioners, complete with a careful selection programme, a rigorous training process, and official accreditation.
The message? Define innovation as a proper business skill and you’ll reap the rewards. Let crowds of well-meaning amateurs run the show and the same rule probably applies.
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