Behind every great product is a great team!
The numbers speak for themselves: Successful teamwork can increase innovation by up to 15% and reduce the time it takes to release a product by 20%.
The team, not the individual contributor, is the new secret for business success.
I see three huge benefits of great teamwork:
- Exponential innovation
- A fulfilled & happy team
This week, we jump into our LIVE Show (The XDI Experience Live at 8am PT, Wednesday 22) and meet with rLoop (www.rloop.org), who are regarded as one of the most advanced innovation, design and engineering groups in the world today.
Registration for the LIVE Show on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/events/6691011749845463040/?showShareByPost=true
rLoop Inc is the only non-student team that advanced in the Hyperloop competition and won the “Innovation Award.” Initially conceived on a Reddit forum, rLoop is now a full-fledged, funded Hyperloop initiative with activity in over 14 countries.
Before we meet, I wanted to explore what it might take to be just that and then Wednesday, let’s see what they say?
See you there….
Two innovative heads are better than one
In business, Innovation is typically misunderstood.
Many business leaders believe innovation is a rare gift that exists mainly in people who are in leadership roles. As managers often say, “That’s why I get paid the big bucks.”
It’s that culture that shrinks and restricts many sources of innovation.
Innovation is not a brilliant idea; innovation is a process.
A brilliant idea becomes an innovation when it is turned into a product or system that produces significantly improved results.
For me, there are 6 areas that bring about great innovation:
1. Diversity for conflict
The world is becoming a smaller and smaller place, care of the internet. Social Media, Amazon, Alibaba etc all bring products and customer demands closer.
Your design team needs to be as diverse as you can make it – cross cultural, cross-functional, variable experiences, cross-psychographics. The more diverse the backgrounds of the team are, the bigger the idea bucket they will have to draw from.
The greater the talent bucket, the far greater chance of reaching that “a-ha” moment through the creation of inspired cognitive connections.
But equally, diversity brings different and individually perceived controversial thinking. The team needs to recognize ”time-out” and that ultimately, it’s the market that decides!
2. Extended Ecosystems
Every innovation team needs well-networked team members, who, with one glance at their Smart Phones can find answers and call in favors, fast. The quality of professional networks should be an explicit selection criteria when team member decisions are made.
Your network is your net worth!
3. Choose a humble leader
Having just one appointed leader in the team is vital. While some innovation teams have experimented with leadership duos or trios, they rarely succeed.
But then, equally as important is the self-awareness in that leader and a humbleness to resign that leadership at times when others in the team, with relevant expertise step-up. This is a real team!
Thirdly, allowing the leader to find and hire their own talent together with a good HR professional. Allowing them the freedom to hire and fire, in order to stay nimble and flexible, ready to respond.
Fourthly, understanding as a leader you work for the team, NOT the team works for you. Allow each member the environment to thrive.
4. Set SMART goals
Even though it might seem to be a difficult exercise, teams that don’t have the discipline to set goals upfront are likely making a mistake.
Start out establishing a vision of what the team is hoping to achieve. But, let’s make it too lofty, too business ROI orientated, because at the end of the day, you’re there to solve a customer problem.
Then, decide on the plan metrics collectively as a team. This creates greater committment and accountability.
5. Think like a start-up
This will always be one of our favorites. Having spent a lot of time with successful entrepreneurs, it’s always been awe inspiring the high levels of driven, motivation, relentlessness, speed and focus they display.
This is so hard to replicate in a large corporation, where members of innovation teams often work under different pressures. Frequently, caution, hesitation, fear of making mistakes and therefore a slowness, in a “business as usual manner” in total contrast to the approach of a start-up.
Perhaps, as a large corporation, this is your first piece of innovation thinking? how do we operate as a start-up in the innovation team?
6. If a job’s worth doing…
..it’s worth doing correctly. Give it all you got!
Successful innovators have a unique mindset. The mentality is putting their entire mind, body and soul into the initiative. Those who hedge, always fail!
For innovation teams in corporations, the same issue is present and often team members have their attention split across multiple responsibilities. For the team to be successful, team members must be allowed to fully focus on their innovation project, rather than being distracted by their other roles in the corporation.
Stepping into the innovation world a few years ago was the greatest thing I ever did. There’s been failures, there’s been mistakes, but I regret none as they’ve made me wiser and stronger to take on a new world.
It’s given us the chance to sit with some of the great innovation and entrepreneurial brains
Let’s see what rLoop think next…….