Most organizations know that they have to form an innovation team, but they are a little uncertain about the practical side of things. “How do I begin? And what happens next?”

At RevelX, I help organizations to be ready for market disruptions. In my experience, the formation of an innovation team is a great start on your path to accomplish this. An innovation team is a working group that will react to new market opportunities and market disruptions.

Many managers understand the importance of such a project group. There is a problem though—many of them don’t know how to start such a project. So, let me give you a practical roadmap.

How to Form an Innovation Team

After you and the other managers have decided to establish an innovation team, the real challenge begins. Below, I give you 5 tips to form an excellent working group:

  1. Before you really begin, you have to accept the fact that you will never be sure of solid returns. So, embrace the affordable loss principle: don’t mind losing money if it means you learn something from it.
  2. Select 6 experienced employees from different disciplines. In my experience, multidisciplinary teams outperform the traditional functional silos that are still dominant in many organizations.
  3. The members of this team must be able to cooperate well. Moreover, they must be able to see the bigger picture in addition to their professional knowledge and skills. In other words, they are “T-shaped” people.
  4. Choose team members not only on the basis of knowledge but also on the basis of their external network. Problems are solved by people, and many business opportunities are based on the willingness to cooperate with a third party. Hence, the importance of an individual’s external network should not be underestimated.
  5. Appoint a team leader, and give her your confidence. Don’t meddle too much, and don’t expect a big breakthrough every day. After the project is finished, you can make judgments about the outcome, but before that, show a benevolent interest, but stay quiet!

How to Manage an Innovation Team

If you are a manager, you can stop reading because now, it is the innovation team leader’s turn. For this person I have the following advice:

  • Define goals and keep measuring. For example, accomplish this through A / B testing and analytics solutions.
  • Guarantee an open dialog within the team. Creativity can only survive in a safe environment, so give new ideas a chance and don’t punish co-workers who seem to fail.
  • Hire an external expert who will refresh your look at the project. The Dutch police use this method to try to solve old murder cases by consulting a so-called “contradictor.”

How Do You Compare to the Competition?

Before you set out to become a more innovative organization, take some time to assess your current situation. The RevelX Innovation Readiness Benchmark is designed to identify the key improvement areas for your organization to become a best-in-class innovator. It is also a great way to benchmark your business against your competitors. Click here to test the innovation power of your organization!

Looking for ways to accelerate your revenue growth?