10 best practices for cross-border innovation. Number 5 gets you to pick the right fights

Photo: Ryan McGuire@gratisography.com

Whether you seek to apply innovation management to solving very specific business challenges or to creating a companywide culture and capability, ask yourself, ‘What do I want to change in my organisation?’ Understanding your ambitions helps you materialise a migration path, set your expectations and allocate resources more rationally.

Therefore, guarantee your programme is relevant both to your people and to the organisation:

  • Have business relevance: Don’t solve problems you don’t have. Pick the right fights aligned with your strategic leadership agenda. Key business challenges make the most relevant innovation challenges.
  • Focus people’s attention on relevant matters: Channel awareness toward the need to tackle an explicit problem, concentrating your people’s collective intelligence on what really matters. Explain pressing needs and priorities but also the low-hanging fruit and other demands that can, in their own time, become equally important.
  • Narrow down your challenges: The narrower the scope of the challenge, the more imaginative the audience becomes. The more ideas you will secure.
    This is of crucial importance in widespread organisations – inefficiency in the headquarters compound energy usage in Switzerland is probably very irrelevant to your Peruvian employees. Even though corporate challenges do intersect your organisation, remember to align them to local reality, also giving space to specific priorities, within specific industry and geography scopes. Your local innovation advocates are crucial to defining, monitoring and reporting on these advances.
  • Have problem champions: International idea management programmes have triumphed by negotiating innovation challenges with particular business unit leaders. Take leaders’ challenges and name them innovation challenges – you will have your own champions.

#Don’t solve problems that you don’t have
#Make business challenges innovation challenges
#Be very specific in defining your battles, across countries and businesses

Pedro do Carmo Costa, Exago’s director and co-founder

Number 6 assures community awareness

Innovation programme across borders: 10 best practices to make it work

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