In the perfect case this is not a big issue. Within an organization that supports and fosters innovation and cares for a nurturing culture, an Innvoation Arena runs takes place following a well-known rhythm. A community exists that knows, understands and is motivated to participate in the regularly runs to push innovation forward.
But to be fair: Not many organizations are on that visionary level. There are many company cultures that value margins or benefits ways more important than innovation. I personally would extend the agile manifesto by: Fostering Innovation over margins and benefits. To foster and realize innovations are the benefits and margins of tomorrow. But this is another story.
So you might want to start an Innovation Arena run in your company and ask yourself whom to invite. Our advice is
- Select carefully the ideas that will be presented to the participants during an Innovation Arena run. The number of ideas to be selected shall be between 7 to 15 ideas. The ideas shall be tagged with the same maturity level or within two subsequent maturity levels. Invite for sure all the idea owners of the presented ideas.
- Select members of the management. i.e. potential sponsors of innovation, product managers, the head of product management, the CIO and CTO or head of R&D. Invite from time to time managers that are not directly related with product development such as the head of marketing or operations. As long as you do not exhaust the members of the management (there time is rare), this is a chance to win a potential sponsor or future product manager.
- Invite selected employees from other departments in your organization as well. The don’t have to be subject matter experts. If these experts are interested and motivated they will bring in challenging comments and input and will grade innovations with a fresh mind and unbiased.
- Very important as well is to invite partners, key customers and externals. Positive but critical individuals from outside your organization are even more unbiased and will challenge your ideas. And…these individuals are you potential customers of the innovations under discussion. Prerequisite for sure is that these individuals are persons of special trust. For sure you and your colleagues are able to identify individuals that qualify.
|Innovation Arena: The Crowd of Experts|
Carefully prepare the invitation send to the expert – as for any workshop that you prepare. The invitation shall include the following information
- Date, time, length and location of the Innovation Arena.
- An agenda of the workshop.
- The motivation for the invited individual to attend. What are the benefits for this person? Take the chance and address the personal needs and interests of the experts.
- The benefit for you as inviting individual and for the organization in large.
- The expected output of the workshop.
- Reassure that absolute no preparation is needed to attend. Just drop in.
So, all prerequisites are prepared and we are ready to go. Next blog will introduce the red line through an Innovation Arena run and go through the schedule before we discuss important steps and actions in more detail.