Innovation is a necessity in the business world, but it is not something that just appears without deliberate actions, preparation and some guidance. The creation of innovation teams helps develop new product ideas as well as better understand current consumer needs. However, making sure the right people are in the right roles is crucial for the success of your innovation team. Likewise, it is equally important to empower the innovation team members regardless of whether they are new hires or veterans of your organization. These two main ideas are important to keep in mind when you start thinking about creating an innovation team for your organization. Then, after you have created the innovation team there are many ways to ensure that the team is geared for success from the start. Here are 5 tips for creating and maintaining successful innovation teams in your business.
#1 Bring together diverse perspectives with a common purpose
Successful teams are made up of people with complementary skills and different perspectives, which is why most organizations highlight the importance of diversity. That is why Planbox has developed software specifically designed to improve employee engagement, obtain insight, and collect feedback from diverse and inclusive point of views.
Studies show that diverse teams are often able to identify problems in smarter ways and find more original solutions than non-diverse teams. However, greater diversity means there is a chance more conflict will arise. Too many disagreements can halt innovation progress. So, it is important that the team is made up of motivated people that share a common purpose and are willing to work with one another. A group of diverse people working well together is the prime environment for successful innovation to occur, and improving collaboration in your business can improve this.
#2 Hire with your mission and goals in mind
You might already have the employees you need, or some hiring might be necessary when putting together your new innovation team. Either way, someone could be highly skilled but not a good fit for your company. For example, a creative person might not be effective in one role but prove to be extremely successful in a different role. When hiring or choosing people for your innovation team, it is important to select those that are interested in your mission and motivated by your goals. Employees that are interested in solving the problems at hand will be more likely to come up with better solutions.
#3 Fill your team composition gaps
Much of the discussion so far has revolved around balance and making sure the right people are in the right roles. When creating a successful innovation team that values diversity and common goals, it is also important to evaluate team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Ranking team members according to which innovation practices they are best at will reveal potential weaknesses within the team. For example, you might find that your team is very strong at identifying customer problems but is very poor at generating ideas to fix these issues. The most successful innovation team will be well-rounded in finding problems, generating solutions, executing plans, and selling the final product.
#4 Promote open communication without fear
Google led an intensive study to find out what distinctive traits make innovative teams so successful. They were able to narrow it down to one specific criteria: the ability of each team member to feel safe to voice their ideas and opinions without the fear of punishment or criticism. Afterall, innovation is impossible if ideas are not freely flowing. The ideation process can be made easier and more transparent with software solutions that emphasize collaboration. In our previous blog 5 Things Most Innovative Companies Have In Common, we further discuss the innovative benefits of encouraging and rewarding employees.
#5 Provide a backbone with realistic expectations
Clear goals and expectations will help guide your innovation team to success. However, the expectations that you set for your team must be realistic. Team members can get discouraged and abandon their work if their work environment is too stressful or they feel their goals are impossible to reach. At the same time, undefined goals or a complete lack of expectations can make a team aimless and unsure of what they are supposed to be doing. It is always important to remember that you should be empowering your team to work independently.
Creating a successful innovation team is important to help your company progress and grow. There are methods that can help you carry out ideas and projects, but the most important step is generating those ideas to begin with. To learn more about how to better accelerate your business outcomes, contact us here.