Taking ideas from the stars as innovation onto the road can feel like being stomped by a heard of elephants. It’s people and trade-offs. Well, even while we’re quite a reasonable lot most of the day, we still do a few quite stupid things. Especially if interests, values, and opinions clash. Here’s an agile way to innovate.
It seems (see Joey’s Journey) that fruitful collaboration is a real challenge in innovation projects. Thus instead of presenting a process with roles, tasks and artefacts, this article looks at the collaborative structure. These are the essentials: the speaker’s corner, the innovation circle, speed creation and agile development.
- In the speaker’s corner anybody can pitch ideas and find a group of like-minded people. This starts the fan base needed for an idea to grow. Once the fans are here, they can form a group and take the idea from the stars into the clouds. They explore the problems and the possible solutions. Finally, they create a convincing pitch, e.g. based on NABC.
- In the innovation circle, pitch the idea to experts and sponsors and let it compete with other ideas. The best ones win budget and resources for the next step!
- The speed creation forms the team and a common vision for development. The result: a well established business vision – agreed between team and the key stakeholders. Finally, the team assesses the maturity and decides, whether development can starts or whether some issues need to be explored first.
- Agile developments starts and the team builds up the product from the bare necessities so it provides just enough to blast the market.
The message: don’t bother about roles, deliverables, templates, project plans, phases, and more if people are not working together effectively! Think about improving collaboration first. And it is quite a simple structure from the idea to the product: 1) find fans, 2) explore the idea, 3) let the idea compete with others, 4) build the development team and sharpen the business case, and then 5) develop just what it needs to be successful.