To amplify your company’s presence and scale your influence, innovation teams need to harness informal networks and not simply rely on formal structures to create a thriving innovation eco-system. Enter Innovation Catalysts: natural champions who are believers, idea generators, problem solvers, mentors and sponsors in your organization.
In the current business environment, defined by some as the ‘Knowledge Age’, leadership interest is increasingly focused on Innovation and Knowledge Management development efforts. To date, these functions often operate along parallel, yet discrete, paths. As organizations seek new areas of growth, while further cutting costs there is an increasing need to build more effective partnerships in order to ensure ongoing success and drive additional business value.
With so much focus on establishing corporate innovation incubators and accelerators, more attention needs to be paid to maintaining effective employee connections back into the business units that will support the newly formed ideas.
As business leaders seek additional impact from Innovation Programs, new ways to leverage and scale existing resources are being explored. One approach is to link externally sourced ideas with networks of innovation-minded employees, to generate additional business impact.
Cast your mind back, to pre-2008 times, when bright and bushy tailed graduates would come out of business school looking for roles in the relevant employers of choice. Generally those organizations were large businesses, providing incentives such as expensive dinners, a career advancement path and generous financial packages.
How do innovation leaders access additional resources to enhance the scale and impact of their efforts across complex, global organizations?
As the global economy improves, many progressive HR leaders are focusing attention on better leveraging innovative activities from across the organization. The resulting new level of partnership and support not only enhance existing employee focused metrics (such as employee engagement), but also align HR / Talent more closely with generating direct financial impact and growth to the organization.
This whitepaper provides a high-level overview of how these new approaches can work and steps to consider before proceeding.
As Innovation Program leaders look to expand their scope and influence across complex, global organizations, they are turning to the development of Employee Innovation Networks. This article examines what these networks can look like, and provides some high level overview of the value that they can generate.
Benefits abound when organizations fully engage their employees. Deeply involved employees are more efficient—working longer hours and going beyond what is asked— and, organization-wide, engaged personnel directly impact financial results. A Towers Perrin study found a 6% higher profit margin in companies with engaged staff, while Gallup reported higher employee engagement scores positively correlate with increased earnings per share.
In the previous two whitepapers of this series we examined both the benefits of innovation training and areas of innovation skills that mid-to-junior level employees can be taught. In this installment we will address an important topic that is often missing from innovation training / education programs: How to build effective employee networks that support employees who have been trained with new innovation skills.