Innovation in the Office in 3 steps

Everyone knows how important innovation is for new product development.  But how often are your biggest frustrations at work related to just getting the job done day-to-day?  You’re not alone.

A company shared one of their favorite innovation projects of all time because its quick and significant impact to improve employee engagement in one department, which was at a company-wide, all-time low according to a recent employee survey.

innovation acceleration and speed to market

Here are the highlights on the fast and cheap steps they took to go from identifying a problem to having the solution implemented in less than 4 months:

  1. Confront reality and get moving.  The VP of the affected department took ownership of investigating potential causes for the dismal survey results along with recruiting a volunteer project leader to help tackle the problem.
  2. Identify and engage all stakeholder groups.  Upon investigation, it became clear that although one department was experiencing the most pain, two other departments were key players in the broken system that was causing frustration.  Instead of trying to solve the problem in a “silo”, the VP helped the project leader by engaging the VPs of the other two department to recruit representatives to participate in solving the challenge.
  3. Problem solve and take action with all stakeholder groups.  A cross-function team with representative from the three departments used proven innovation problem solving techniques to identify potential solutions, recommend a path, document requirements, and ultimately implement the final solution using fast and disciplined cycles of learning.  This even included contracting with an outside firm to develop a simple software interface between departments and conducting training with all stakeholders on how the new system worked - all in less than 4 months!

Frustrating challenges can be found in all parts of the business, and don’t forget that regardless of where, they can all be solved using the same proven processes and tools that work for new product development.  Stop suffering, confront reality, and get to work!