Innovation is a Team Sport

innovation team


“It takes a village to raise a child,” and to build a strong innovation program. You’ve read the research—crowdsourcing and open innovation are powerful tools for organizations of all sizes, structures, and disciplines to source game-changing ideas and solutions—but how do these organizations get from launch to valuable results?

Pulling from our work with a variety of organizations including large tech companies, government agencies, universities, and more, I noticed a big correlation between success and a well rounded innovation team. Crowdsourcing innovation isn’t just about the ideators or the ideas, it requires planning, promoting, monitoring, and in the end, deployment. The key to success? Divide and conquer.

Benefits of building an innovation team:

  • Building a team allows the work to be shared, making it easier to fit tasks related to an innovation project into busy schedules.
  • Assigning different aspects of a program to those with the appropriate knowledge and strengths allows everyone to shine.
  • Ownership has been proven to increase happiness and quality of work. By inviting a team to design and deploy your program with you, you are inviting them to take ownership of the program.
  • By getting more people involved in an innovation program from the beginning, you grow the knowledge base, and your program will benefit from the breadth of their unique perspectives.
  • Dividing tasks into roles is the most efficient way to get the most accomplished.

Ready to meet your innovation team? Here are your key players:

  • Champion – Project manager and ambassador who will lead the team, grow awareness around the project, and see the results actualized.
  • Content Creators – Preferably someone who understands your company or organization’s Marketing, Branding, and/or PR departments. Content creators will create the language and imagery of your campaign, including materials used to promote, publicize, and engage potential participants.
  • Moderators – Moderators are in direct communication with the community by approving submissions, responding to participant questions and promoting participation through comments and other channels.
  • Cheerleaders – Your champion should be promoting the project internally from pre-launch. Gaining buy-in from key individuals within your company or organization will help guide the project and make it to take crowd submissions to the next step.
  • Evaluators – Internal or external to your organization, evaluators review qualifying submissions and select the top contenders to move on to the next stage.
  • Implementors – What happens once the ideas have been collected? Taking ideas to action is the most exciting part of an open innovation or crowdsourcing program. Implementors get to bring ideas to life.

Innovation is a team sport, and every position matters as much as the next. Ideas alone are just that, ideas. A strong team will help uncover the best ideas and develop them into tangible results.

This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by Lindsay Rentz, Community Strategist at IdeaScale.


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