- 16th April 2018
- Posted by: Manolis
We are living in an extraordinary time. During the Digital Era of the past 30 years, every industry has become social, mobile, and global. With the arrival of Sensors, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), AI (artificial intelligence), Machine Learning, 3-D printing, and Robotics, we are moving rapidly into a new Hyper-Digital Era. Every industry is becoming smart and connected, and companies that do not adapt are rapidly falling behind.
Business leaders are rightfully asking: What disruptions are coming and where can we do the disrupting? Where are the open fields of opportunity where no one is yet the recognized leader? What is the future of manufacturing? Of financial services and insurance? Of mobility and transportation? Of healthcare? Of cities? All industries are once again being transformed – and at a pace that will require exceptional foresight and the capacity to rapidly innovate at all levels of an enterprise.
Part of the answer for leaders will be to do a better job of harnessing the collective intelligence and imagination of their people. The world is too complicated and fast moving to rely on top down or lone genius approaches. Plus disruptive ideas often come from the fringes and are sparked through the interaction of diverse perspectives and disciplines. Leaders need to actively engage their workforce in creating a portfolio of possibilities. They must invite and empower intrapreneurs to step forward and begin innovating at startup speed to develop the game changing ideas that will define their company’s future.
Championing Bigger and Bolder Ideas
Seeing and then seizing disruptive opportunities is not an easy task. These bold ideas are harder to conceive and easier to kill, because they are typically more risky and can threaten existing operations and arrangements. The greater the market risk and the larger the internal threat, the higher the hurdle for approval and funding. Senior leaders must create the conditions under which these big ideas can surface and survive long enough to prove their potential.
Disruptive ideas don’t just happen. They are not concepts that can be handed off. These ideas must be championed. Someone must take ownership of the idea and be responsible for navigating all the organizational barriers to success. And in doing so, intrapreneurs must address two fundamental truths when leading big idea innovation:
- Value Creation: Innovation is more than a flash of inspiration or creative thinking. It is about creating value through the implementation of new ideas. No matter how smart your employees are, their big ideas are never right the first time. No one is clever enough to determine the desirability, feasibility, profitability, etc. from the start. In order to ensure success, your innovators must continue to evolve their thinking based on the data they collect and the feedback they receive. They must put in the hard work to build a compelling business case, develop and test prototypes, and prove the concept is market ready.
- Persuasive Communication: Intrapreneurs must be able to clearly communicate the potential of their idea to generate interest and support. This is particularly true for disruptive ideas whose paradigm-shifting logic and breakthrough technology may not be easily understood. No one does it alone. At some point even the most capable of intrapreneurs will need the assistance of people with expertise, influence, and resources to help in developing and implementing their big ideas. For many people, speaking in public and delivering a compelling pitch to a skeptical audience can be a daunting task. And unfortunately, a great idea, poorly explained, ceases to appear great.
“The human brain is a wonderful organ. It starts to work as soon as you were born and doesn’t stop into you get up to deliver a speech.” –George Jessel
Being able to reach and teach an entire workforce how to innovate better is why tools like CO-STAR and the One Hour Innovator exist. They offer a disciplined approach for how to create new business value in a transforming world. Being able to perfect and pitch ideas is a foundational skill for today’s workforce, and one I predict will be even more important as we enter the hyper-digital era. After all, individual employees are a business’ primary source of innovation. When its workers become more innovative, the business will become more innovative.
If you want employees to embrace an intrapreneurial mindset and champion disruptive ideas, leaders need to clarify their expectations and commit to a “Day 1” philosophy like Jeff Bezos.
“What does Day 2 look like? That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic. Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.” –Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com
To bring intrapreneurship to life, leaders must ensure their people are able to see the future, turn insights into valuable ideas, pitch them in a compelling manner, then turn the best of these ideas into pilots and prototypes (with pivots as needed), and move them all the way through to launch. If you want to learn how to scale innovation across your enterprise and create a disciplined approach for creating market-changing ideas, start by visiting onehourinnovator.com. Or start a free trial of the software here with code innovatorinvite