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From talk to action: 
Five ways to inspire innovation

Innovation is hardly the most straightforward of tasks, but it can be done. We outline five tips for turning an idea into impact.
Inspire innovationMany organisations understand that they can’t stand still. Change is unavoidable if they want to need to meet the evolving needs of customers and to continue leading in an ever more competitive and volatile market. That’s why concepts such as 'Intrapreneurship' and ‘Lean Startup’ have increasingly taken root.

But whilst part of innovation is about trial and error, how can you ensure there is a return on investment? Whilst you seek to remove the barriers to innovation, how do we ensure that innovation is relevant to the type of business you are in? Whilst the power of the workforce is phenomenal, how can you empower them to reach the peak of their potential on this journey? 

At BAE Systems, we have an in-house innovation programme, Innovation Exchange, which was set up to encourage and inspire innovation across the organisation. Running an in-house innovation programme is akin to running a business. To run a good one, you want to consider what to innovate. To run a great one, you even need to think about how to innovate.

 

The five topics below are nowhere to cover the complexity of running an incubator, but they are good starting points:



1) Adopting Agile on non-IT and IT projects and programmes

Is Agile a buzzword to your business? Before committing to a particular approach, think about what exactly you are trying to achieve with it.
 
We find two elements of Agile particularly fit-for-purpose:
  • Visualisation: Help the team and management visualise the progress (and blockers) clearly and easily
  • Retrospective: Identify the issue and face it. Otherwise the issue will stay until you resolve it
 

2) Relevance

You may hear these: “I am not innovative.” “I don’t have time.” “I think innovation is somebody else’s responsibility.” Making the innovation programme relevance to your audience is important.

Everyone is supporting the corporate objectives in different ways. Whilst you can tailor messages for different levels (such as consultants, engineers, product management, sales, account management and senior leadership), you can also use the same set of communication smartly to address motivations of different parties.
 

3) Measuring effectiveness

With limited resources (people, time and budget), you want to ensure your programme is effective. How do you know the effectiveness of the activities of your programme?

Developing robust objectives and key results are the first step. Measure what you cannot control of directly, so that you think and work harder to come up with activities to help achieve your stretch goals. You also want to review your objectives at least quarterly so that you know you are on track.  
 

4) Widely spread workforce

You can turn the difference of time zones and work locations into your delivery advantage.

Do the communications at the right time at the right place. Taking into account your audience working patterns and habits are very helpful. You can use different digital and physical channels for different types of communications: emails, digital Kanban boards, intranet blogposts, webinar, posters in the office, video conference calls, and so on.
 

5) Human psychology

Most people like some fun, some competitions, fair recognition, and smiley energised people to work with.
You can incorporate these elements with running your innovation programme. After all, a happy, safe environment encourages great collaboration and ideas.
 

 
There is no silver bullet to innovation. Different approaches abound, some succeed, others fall short but all have at their core a desire to deliver positive change. To make a difference. To help an organisation move forward. 

That’s why innovation has been, and will always be, fundamental to creating a better future for us all. 

For more information on how we can help in your innovation programme, please contact Monique Ho, Lead Business Analyst, or explore more insights from our experts.