Innovation management is three things: 1. Creating innovation competencies, 2. Allocating resources to innovation projects, and 3. Managing an innovation pipeline from idea to market launch. I believe many people focus too much on the last two and not enough on creating the skills and talent needed for innovation. Leadership teams must take the responsibility for training and development, recruitment, and reward systems that elevate the innovation competency of the firm.
I enjoy seeing people’s reaction to learning innovation. I love it when they create their first idea using a structured process. They get a big grin on their face. It is very gratifying when my students “get it” and see how this ability to innovate will make them an enormous resource to any company that hires them.
When people learn the skills of innovation, they face their next big challenge – how do I convince my boss to use this method on a regular basis? How do I persuade the organization to see innovation as a systematic process? It is frustrating to see students frustrated. So we train additional skills of influence and organizational alignment. We try to create “innovation evangelists.”
My next big challenge is getting the word out on what works and what doesn’t work in innovation. I taught innovation to a group representing five multinational companies recently. They were convinced that the method (based on patterns) works and can be used in a variety of ways. But one of the participants asked, “Why am just hearing about this now?” That is a good question, and more needs to be done to make people see innovation as a set of skills that can be taught and learned by anyone.
Drew Boyd is a recognized authority, thought leader, educator, and practitioner in the fields of innovation, persuasion and social media. He is the executive director of the Master of Science in Marketing Program and assistant professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati.
Boyd retired from Johnson & Johnson in 2010 after a seventeen year career in marketing, mergers and acquisitions and international development. He founded and directed J&J’s acclaimed Marketing Mastery Program, an internal “marketing university” benchmarked by companies such as GE, P&G, Kraft and Merck. Boyd’s focus was on raising competencies in the areas of strategic marketing, market management and new product innovation. Of particular focus was teaching employees how to systematically invent new medical products and integrate the inventions into long-range strategic plans. Boyd is an inventor himself, earning his first patent for a device that makes spine surgery easier.
Before Johnson & Johnson, Boyd spent ten years with United Airlines, gaining managerial and leadership experience in sales, marketing and strategic planning. Boyd was one of the early pioneers of strategic partnerships between carriers that led to the creation of the Star Alliance.