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The Innovation Team

Read part one – cultivating innovation before continuing to read (or watch the interview) about building the innovation team.

(The following is a transcription of the video below)

How Do We Define The Innovation Team?

Like all great ideas that are about to be transformed from nothing into reality, you need a group of individuals acting with intention and acting responsibly as a group to see it through. Whether you call this a board, a council, a team, it really doesn’t matter. It needs to be a team that is going to be persistent and has the desire to see it through. We call this an innovation team. It’s made up of people from our side of the Sparta organization and people from within our customer’s side. Those key individuals that have the attitude that will support our process.

How Many On The Team?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive answer for the number of people you need on a team. It is dependent on the type of project and who brings what to the table. We have been involved in processes with a team as small as 3 people and as great as 20 to 30 people.

How Do You Know You Have Too Many People?

One of the things you can tell if you have too many people in the design meeting or on your innovation team, is that in the first couple of meetings it turns into more of a focus group. You end up with a person standing at the front and giving their ideas and broadcasting them out to the group and everyone is either giving their thumbs up or thumbs down to it. There isn’t an active dialogue that occurs in the group where they are proactively seeking solutions or bringing solutions or alternatives to the table. There is a small chance that this atmosphere is brought on by not having the right people at the table.

Do You Have The Right People On The Team?

By not having the right people at the table, you don’t have the right attitude. It’s not people that have the most experience or most knowledge in whatever process or project you are working on, it’s the people with the right attitude. It’s all about attitude. These individuals need to be motivated positively by deadlines and timelines. They have to see it as a challenge that they need to overcome. Whether it’s on our side (the engineering side), or the customer side and whomever else comes to the innovation team (suppliers, manufacturers, etc.). Those people need to have a common attitude towards the process. I am going to be outlining these steps as we go through but it’s more about the process, what it uncovers, and what it brings to the table for everyone to truly find this level of innovation.

What Is The Team’s Responsibility?

If the team was chosen right, the next stage of this process moves a lot faster. An effective group will set out very valuable parameters and these parameters are balanced. I will get into that a little more in the next video. Balanced parameters are parameters that don’t conflict with each other and create a high level of value into the following stages after. The team isn’t the foundation to this process. They aren’t the foundation to innovation or to the design process. They are merely the people that are going to set the parameters to define the foundation. It is important but it is not the foundation. It is not what you are going to build off, it is what you are going to build with.

Continue on to the Parameters Influencing Innovation (part 3)>>