RESOURCES > BLOG

How NOT to set up a Corporate Innovation Team

DETAILS

It’s probably one of the questions I get asked most often; how do you set up a Corporate Innovation Team?

So first, in true consultancy style we challenge the question; do you really want to set up a Corporate Innovation Team or do you want to promote a culture of continuous innovation across your business ?

See what I did there …

I have personally worked in and managed Corporate Innovation Teams across a diverse range of businesses. They have all had a few things in common:

The Rock Stars – They are typically led by super-bright, cool young things in the early stage of their careers and therefore willing and able to take a risk.  Other Rock Star characteristics:

The Rebels – The Rock Stars are joined by free thinkers from the wider business who think they have at last have found their niche within the corporate structure.  These rebels are supplemented by external hires who generally have a few failed start-ups under their belt or experience of other Corporate Innovation Teams.

Shortened Life Expectancy – I have worked with Corporate Innovation Teams which have cost millions of pounds and some which have made millions of pounds in new revenue, but typically after 2 or 3 years they have been shut down.

So, bearing in mind this life expectancy issue, coupled with a specific resource constraint effecting one of our clients we are trying a new approach.  Inspired by a model in “The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge” by Vijay Govindarajan; we are definitely NOT setting up a Corporate Innovation Team.

What we do have are Innovation Project Teams which meet for just one day a week in a dedicated innovation space.  The teams are made up of hand-picked individuals from the wider business who are released for one day a week.  But crucially, these teams are supported by a shared innovation function; two people who can work across several projects for the remainder of the week.  The team is aligned around one plan.  This is an experiment which has not been without teething problems but it is moving forwards.

In my experience, if you want to foster an innovation culture within a corporate environment there is no simple answer; but maybe the role of the “old school” Corporate Innovation Team is dead.  As Steve Banks, serial entrepreneur and thought leader suggests; by the middle of the 21st century the only companies with “skunk works” will be those which have failed to master continuous innovation.

I do think Corporates will always need Rock Stars and Rebels; you just need to start thinking of more innovative ways of working with them.

See what I did there, I’ll let you know how it goes…

Watch Vijay Govindarajan talking about “Solving the Execution Challenge

SHARE THIS RESOURCE

RESOURCES

TOOLS 24.01.16
Resilience is more than a buzzword!
TOOLS 24.01.15
Unlocking motivation on Blue Monday
TOOLS 24.01.02
The Disruptive Leadership Report
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.11.08
Chiefs for Change 16 Oct | Event takeaways
BLOG 23.11.08
DE&I champion Fiona Barron joins T– as Leadership Development Director and launches the Gender Equity Collective
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.11.07
The Gift of Feedback
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.10.23
What about men?
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.10.10
Own your impact: Sustaining high performance
TOOLS 23.09.27
Introducing The Gender Equity Collective | Brand Book
TOOLS 23.09.27
How can business leaders create blinding clarity and simplicity in their workforce?
TOOLS 23.08.22
‘Know you know nothing. Know how to solve problems and know who to ask’
BLOG 23.08.16
Neuroscience expert Nicola Skorko joins T– as Leadership Development Lead
BLOG 23.07.19
The T– Leadership Generator
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.26
How to create and scale a culture of experimentation
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.20
How can leaders create a new generation of truly inclusive organisations?
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.13
Leading through disruption
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.13
How do we prevent our organisations from breaking as we seek to defend the next crisis and go for the next phase of growth?
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.13
What is the value of deep self-awareness for organisations?
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.13
Why is delivering against purpose so hard to do and what lessons can we learn from successful leaders who’ve done it?
BLOG 23.06.13
How NOT to set up a Corporate Innovation Team
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
5 steps to help you take control of your time (and your role)
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
7 ways coaching will unlock your leadership potential
BLOG 23.06.13
How to be a good CEO in a crisis?
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
What’s the best approach to building the resilience of our teams and leaders?
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
Addressing the systemic barriers to women’s progress
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
How to find answers when you don’t know the questions
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
If it’s not safe to fail, then your business isn’t safe either
BLOG 23.06.13
Mhairi McEwan joins T-minus as board advisor
BLOG 23.06.13
Business psychologist, Ben Foulkes, joins T-minus as director
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
Will you survive the next market shift? Five questions would-be disruptors need to ask
BLOG 23.06.13
T-minus offsite: Leading in nature
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
Five proven ways to tackle collective stress
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
Startup vs. Corporate: who is modelling the future of leadership?
Where next?