The five key elements in an effective innovation team


In order to make innovation a core part of your organisation, creating an innovation team, either as a permanent fixture for the company as a whole, or as a bespoke team for a particular innovation challenge, is essential.

We’ve put together our five top tips to give you the optimum start to your ideation process and result in successful innovation in your organisation.

Set a clear strategy

It seems obvious, but before an innovation team is brought together, a clear strategy for the ideation process needs to be produced.  Not only will this key document keep you and the team on track for the duration of the innovation, it will also enable the right choices to be made in times when creativity takes precedence.  Having a solid document to refer to will keep you grounded and on the path to success.  

Get the right people and give them clear roles and responsibilities

Bringing together the correct people who will inform, influence and input to the innovation team in a positive and productive manner is vital.  You need to look at all aspects of the project and include people who are product or process experts, those who can provide strategic input and customer insight as well as someone who will be responsible for driving the project forward.  Consider as well, when the innovation team’s role ends, and other parts of the organisation will pick up and move forward.  Depending on the nature of your innovation team and its objectives, your requirements will vary.  What will stay the same for all teams however, is the importance of ensuring the appropriate level of input from each participant.  Outlining and being crystal clear on each team member’s roles and responsibilities from the outset means you are freeing your innovation team up to focus on the ideation process, without concern or worry about the structure or process of the team.

Lead by example

Creating an innovative culture without being innovative yourself is like trying to teach someone to drive a train when you’ve never sat behind the wheel.  Make being innovative, open and creative part of your daily objectives, and keep this at the forefront of your mind, no matter what piece of work you are undertaking or meeting you are attending.  Approaching all tasks with this mindset will lead you to come up with new and creative solutions to seemingly everyday tasks, and the effect will resonate throughout the people around you.

Enable exceptional communication

Excellent communication with all involved parties throughout the ideation process is crucial to a positive outcome. The Harvard Business Review in fact cites sharing the ideation experience with everyone involved, including any clients, as a key rule to success.  At smartcrowds we have developed tools and products to ensure that you can communicate and share throughout your entire ideation process at the touch of a button.  We make it possible for every member of your innovation team to be informed, to contribute and to keep up to date with each step in the process, through our intuitive software.

Aim for harmony but don’t be afraid of controversy

A harmonious team where everyone agrees may seem like the dream - but be careful not to stifle alternative ideas and healthy discussion.  The creative process isn’t straightforward, and personalities will disagree.  Enable the innovation team to discuss, debate and decide in a productive space. Face to face is the optimum channel for key discussions, but what happens after is crucial.  By using innovation management software, you avoid the risk of a faction breaking off and important conversations taking place offline or undocumented.  Providing an organised and accessible platform for communication like smartcrowds enables debate in a positive and productive environment.

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