Innovation, the heartbeat of high-tech companies, is like a building. It rests on four basement walls - four foundations:
- A good idea.
- Management support.
- An environment without fear.
Take away just one basement wall, and innovation is doomed:
- Ideas only appear when there is no fear. Check yourself: Do you praise team members?
- Innovation is impossible without management support. Check yourself: Do you support innovative ideas? Even from somebody else?
- Innovation requires investment. Check yourself: Do you provide sufficient resources?
- Fear makes people hide mistakes and risks. Check yourself: Do people fear you?
By the way: innovation is just a buzzword for - entrepreneurship.
Innovation is like a building: on top of the foundations comes the visible building. To realize it, innovation requires professional planning and professional execution.
- Start from market demand.
- Clarify the goals and the customer advantages of the innovation project.
- Clarify the goals and the customer advantages even more: compare them with the competition.
- Communicate the goals and the advantages of the innovation project.
- Implement the best project management possible.
Innovation is often destroyed by unprofessional behaviour:
- Innovation against the market is doomed.
- Innovation without a goal is not valuable, not even as therapy.
- Me-too is not innovation.
- Innovation without a supporting team is impossible.
- Innovation without drive is lost energy.
Check yourself: Are the goals in your environment well chosen? Are the goals crystal clear? And next: is the project management professional?
Managing high-risk projects
High-risk team projects, especially in high-tech, are best organized with the following management principles:
- Ensure fast decision taking - especially about alternative paths.
- Ensure drive behind every milestone of the project.
- Listen to all project members. Collect their advice. Ponder it.
- Listen to all project members. Absorb all intermediate results.
- Respect all opinions and values - especially critical views.
- Never punish or ridicule mistakes.
- If the project is successful, it is the team's merit.
- If the project is unsuccessful, it is the management's fault.
- Spend half your time preparing for mishaps and disasters.
- Spend the other half of your time motivating project members.
- Use humour.
- Value and praise your colleagues.
With such leadership, every innovation project will be successful. The higher the risk, the more you need these principles.
By the way: most companies are high-risk projects.