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Innovation teams. Do we need them?

As an innovation professional I’ve worked on innovation teams and with new venture project groups for many years. Around 10 years ago it seemed that innovation teams could solve the problem of making organisations more innovative. In recent years however, emphasis has been given to customer experience, technology and social media, while innovation has seemingly taken a back seat. But why is this? Is innovation no longer important to organisations?

The responsibility of an innovation team often includes creating and maintaining an innovation pipeline as well as delivering pilots and small projects. They are also often tasked with running idea events and campaigns. There is certainly value in creating a team to build the innovation process, but subsequent to that does the innovation team continue to deliver value?

A better way to deliver innovation

The reality is that not all organisations need an innovation team. Having a separate team can discharge the responsibility to deliver innovation. All employees, in particular senior stakeholders, must have both responsibility and accountability to deliver it. A small team of professionals is rarely empowered to build a culture and influence senior stakeholder decision making. Innovation teams can also become isolated from other essential functions and struggle to gain resources, finding themselves de-prioritised against business critical projects.

Innovation is a capability and a culture that needs to be embedded across all parts of the organisation. There are however specialist roles that will have responsibility for delivering innovation successfully, but these do not necessarily need to be in a full time capacity. Much of the delivery of innovation can be embedded into other roles and everybody in the organisation has a part to play, in particular senior stakeholders, who must ensure their organisation continues to deliver value to the market.

Make innovation everyone’s day job

Embedding innovation at all levels and integrating it into existing processes will help your organisation deliver innovation successfully. With embedded skills and principles the responsibility for delivering innovation is distributed rather than concentrated. Making innovation everyone’s ‘day job’ and building it into corporate culture requires training, awareness and appropriate rewards.

Richmond Innovation can help you to build innovation into your organisation through training and culture development. Please contact us for more information.

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