It is often said that employees are one of the biggest costs at any company and, at the same time, its greatest asset. According to a recent survey, 64% of an organization’s total outgoings can be attributed to labor costs. But employees are also the major contributors to the profits and overall value of any organization. They are the driving force behind a company’s innovation efforts.
Even the best idea will not lead to a successful, scalable business if it is not supported by good employee buy-in. Research conducted by Crowd Companies found that the major barriers to innovation were as follows: the existing company culture, cited by 57% of respondents, competing agendas (56%), the middle management permafrost layer (45%), and battling deferred commitment and delayed action (33%). These problems are all internal – and fortunately, so too are the solutions.
In our last post, we looked at how businesses should fund the broad portfolio of bets that they will need to pursue in order to find that one, game-changing idea. Our fourth pillar takes a look at the people responsible for taking that idea, scaling it, and turning it into a new innovative product with the potential to completely transform an entire business. Here’s why having a robust pool of “intrapreneurs,” perhaps combined with external experienced entrepreneurs and coaches, is essential to driving innovation.
The right people at the right time
All of the six pillars that we have identified at Innoleaps are key to business success, but the importance of having the right individuals within your innovation teams cannot be overstated. Most of the time, in early-stage initiatives, from idea to launch in the market, teams fail because they do not contain the right people for that particular stage of a project’s development.
A thorough understanding of the personalities involved is vital. For the thousands of start-ups and corporate clients we work with, we use “Facet5,” a personality analysis tool employed by businesses and consultancies around the world. It’s important to remember when assessing any employee using tools like these that there is no “right” or “wrong” personality profile, only “balanced” or “unbalanced” team compositions.
When bringing your pool of intrapreneurs together, make sure you evaluate people across the four key personality metrics: Implementation; Decision Making; Evaluation; and Generating Ideas. For both start-ups and corporates, successful founder teams need a balance of skill and attitude to work together and overcome the many challenges of innovation.
The stage is set
The right team will also depend on the particular stage of the innovation journey that your organization is at. At the different stages of a particular venture, the types of individual personalities that make up a winning team will change. In the early stages, when ideation, validation, and launch are being considered, you will need “explorers”- people that will ask questions, come up with bold new ideas and seek out disruption.
Even at this early stage, however, teams cannot be made up entirely of dreamers. It is a good idea to have someone onboard that will look at ways of creating a repeatable business out of the innovative ideas that begin to gain traction. All venture teams should contain an “explorer” and a “scaler” - more curious people, but also individuals that understand what is needed to scale the business in a corporate setting. A scaler thinks, “How can we make this business repeatable and transferable in our own corporate context? How do we scale?”
It is also vital that businesses understand that it is okay to switch team members during the innovation lifecycle. Multi-disciplinary teams are essential, and what works during the early stages of a project might not be what’s required as your move towards mass-market or start looking at exiting a project.
At Innoleaps, we want organizations to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship but also to make the most of any assets that they are already in possession of. We have helped countless businesses to shape their innovation teams, providing bootcamps and digital learning platforms to train members of staff in all the necessary methodologies to build, test, scale, and manage new ventures in the market. Your employees remain your greatest asset; we can make sure that you are using them correctly.