Once you successfully ramp up your innovation program, the next step is to identify specific challenges that will propel your organization on the road to success. As Brightidea’s VP of Marketing, I “hung out” yesterday with with top innovation experts from Nielson and Thomas Reuters in our Google Hangout entitled How to Find Challenges & Deliver Outcomes. This Google Hangout is the 4th in our Innovation Insights Webinar/Hangout Series. Our panelist of innovation experts included:
- Stephanie Hegarty: Innovation Program Manager at Nielsen
- Jen McClure: Vice President, Digital & Social Media at Thomson Reuters
- Ann Marie Dumais: Strategic Client Advisor at Brightidea
Whether you’re thinking of starting an innovation program of your own, or just looking to improve an existing one, these best practices on creating successful challenges provided by these experts will lead you in the right direction. The highlights from this exclusive Brightidea Hangout How to Find Challenges and Deliver Outcomes are summarized below:
Ann Marie spoke on identifying challenges initially, “Not everyone is going to want to admit they have a challenge in the organization…once you get a program up and going, the demand increases quite dramatically.” Each panelist agreed that after driving an impact with one team in an organization, the momentum grows until every employee begins to buy into the strategy of crowdsourcing techniques. Team-based challenges can also assist the popularity and contribution of innovation programs within an organization drastically.
To find challenges, you have to have a highly networked company, not just within your particular area. You must know the broad focus of your CEO, and be in tune with the strategic goals of your organization. Ann Marie spoke on finding challenges, “They’re not so hard to find…you have to look tactically who has the most vested interest to make that happen…a system like Brightidea enables innovation to happen faster in a way that they couldn’t possibly know (unless they used it).”
Having a strong sponsor is a key asset to innovative organizations who want to pursue change. This person should be some sort of senior in the company who has a powerful say in decisions and will be able to get multiple teams onboard. Stephanie mentioned, ”if you have that sponsor, it’s easy to find a strong challenge manager because they know that it’s supported from their leadership which makes them willing to put in the time.” With sponsorship however, you must ensure that you have the budget to take action and execute the core purpose of your innovation efforts.
Social media has had a big impact on forcing the big shift in large corporation’s focus on the customer experience. They’ve begun to realize that they must put the customer at the center of the business and interact with them to succeed in this space. In relation to monitoring social media, Jen mentioned that, “you have to listen to these ideas both internally and externally because innovation can happen in very unexpected places.”
Innovation programs have an immense impact on the interconnectivity of teams within organizations, which has opened a variety of new doors. Stephanie, who uses Brightidea software at Nielsen, spoke of the incredibly effective ability to prioritize challenges within the organization’s innovation program software, quickly connecting teams through the tool. The benefits enable quick and efficient communication through the interface, eliminating previously difficult, siloed divisions of a company by bringing them together to better serve their clients.
As an innovator, you must have a way to take advantage of internal and external employees to make them feel involved. The panel shared that as a mobile worker, you may not feel as involved in the company’s innovation, so techniques mentioned such as live cams, 12 hour challenge windows, comments, and better enable interactions. Jen, who is a social expert at Thomson Reuters, commented on innovation challenges, “by having everything happen in one place, it’s very easy for people to engage.” She gave an intriguing example of a Thomas Reuter’s innovation event that took place in Switzerland, but engaged employees worldwide.
As you can tell, having an innovation program to identify and tackle challenges is becoming an essential tool in powerful companies all over the globe. Fostering a hub for this interconnectivity has allowed for organizational teams to achieve outcomes quicker than they could ever have imagined. If you’d like to hear more from the experts, please view this Google Hangout here. Feel free to share your Challenge ideas and suggestions in the comments section below.