For innovation to be successful, the bottom line is the commitment and focus made for building the capabilities and competencies in innovation as it is people that create real value and it is them that ARE the innovation success equation. 

In my opinion, we must simply invest in people by focusing on the 3 C’s of developing capability, competency and capacity.

As we set about to build and expand capabilities we need to consider:

  • How we can accelerate the uptake of innovation activity around the conditions provided through investing in them
  • The need to trigger engagement and achieve a growing attainment of knowledge acquisition and dispersion skills- essential for collaborative innovation
  • Setting about building practices for greater synergies, relationships and networking conditions, for ongoing learning and absorptive capacity
  • Extracting the right cultural, design, climate and environmental conditions,
  • Placing increasing value on evolving  structures, processes and technology applications
  • Investing in lessons learnt, in validation and resolutions to challenges to build an ongoing adaptive capacity.
  • By recognising people to solve e critical bottlenecks and find solutions to overcome constraints, they become increasingly motivated to find solutions and resolve gaps through their ability to be creative and inquisitive.
  • The ongoing building of capabilities and competencies clearly leads to a more sustaining and determined innovation future.

Figure 1: The people equation for innovation

Increasing capacity through coaching

There are many benefits to having an intense course of one-on-one coaching, irrespective of the level of responsibility you have for innovation within your organisation.

It is very similar to management behavioural coaching to change perceptions, to reorientate your thinking and approach, to open up to different thinking and to build out your innovation understanding. Coaching yields a clear return but the hard work lies with the one being coached, wanting to see the alternatives and add these into their daily actions and lives.

Increasing your innovation knowledge through coaching,  can accelerate different insights that can form a vital part of any innovation comprehension that can reduce uncertainties, encourage experimentation and draw others towards a changing relationship of trust, increasing productivity and engagement.

By  working  through some fairly intensive and context specific sessions you quickly deepen personal knowledge and accelerate your critical business awareness and contribution.

Coaching approaches provide ideal safe environments to enable innovation to quickly take hold and be translated.

Leaders, champions, sponsors and teams can gain from this coaching as well as the individual.

The Real Tipping Point in your understanding comes through ‘tailored’ Innovation Coaching where you see real benefits by discussing why and this, in my opinion always is framed around content and context:

  • Context matters a great deal
  • Content needs to offer a total solution
  • Success takes time & effort
  • Finding a release of working time to focus on adding new value to the Business (hard-wiring) becomes essential to achieve this shift

I wrote this sometime back “Learning the Mantra of Innovation Context” and it provides some great insights into understanding the context for innovation. 

I take this approach in coaching innovation in multiple ways:

  • My approach is a mix of questioning, listening and re-skilling techniques and why this makes sense
  • I recommend coaching normally on a one-to-one basis as ideal but this can be in team situations as well, although this has a different approach
  • This type of coaching is always innovation centric in everything I  do. •Ownership lies with the person being coached and I seek to transfer the necessary insight and knowledge quickly and effectively
  • I facilitate the unscrambling of many random thoughts and provide the clarity of piecing the innovation puzzle together

It is your imperative to finally assimilate and use this new knowledge gained; as I will help you in achieving your personal goals and provide a fresh dimension and place for innovation understanding into the context necessary.

Why not contact me to find out more about a number of unique ways we approach innovation through coaching. Many of these become ‘deep dives’ to provide the necessary breakthroughs.

 Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

There are certainly growing benefits in using external advisor’s and innovation mentors

To find someone who is empathetic and experienced in business innovation is growing harder so as to avoid many typical, sometimes unseen ‘pitfalls’ on innovation.

Someone who has a depth gained from their own business experiences; working in large organisations, managing complexity, projects and starting up fresh initiatives or taking them over to turn them around.

Someone who can empathise with the managing of innovation; in learning and leading significant activities.

A mentor or advisor can certainly provide

  • The opportunity and environment for you to step back from the day-to-day detail to take fresh stock, to re-engage in the bigger picture of what innovation can provide. They can help you to refocus and re-energise innovation activities. They can be timely.
  • They can be a great sounding board as they listen they can prompt and stimulate your thinking. They can challenge it and help in arriving at new ideas towards solutions to your challenges. They can offer a series of directions and courses of actions to be considered.
  • Growth or the need for renewal  are often tough areas to manage and deliver through innovation activities. Timely advice can instil a growing confidence, the chance to debate and explore alternatives, and explore emerging options. A mentoring approach can help in avoiding ‘classic’ mistakes made by others.
  • Today, we need to leverage the connections within our networks more and more. Knowing who, where and why becomes increasingly of value so as to avoid loss of time, energy and basic mistakes.

A mentor who has a wide network to tap into can seek out the best advice to support assumptions or offer even more clarification.

Each mentoring or advisory engagement will be different

Discussing constantly changing business challenges often values external evaluation. Often you can forget one issue as another one ‘pops up’ into the crowded agenda.

A mentor can remind, prompt and connect issues and bring a fresh perspective to these. Having the opportunity to revisit the different complexities within innovation so you have available a knowledge resource to share and reflect on constant changes since the last conversation or meeting can provide a catalyst to taking the appropriate action.

Having the opportunity to engage around different topics of discussions that surface around innovation can become a powerful motivational force for you to recalibrate, stay motivated, and have added incentives to think through these again.

In our view an innovation advisor or mentor needs to offer

A good innovation mentor or trusted advisor should offer a different perspective based on a combination of their own practical business experiences along with a real depth of innovation understanding to provide a real return to your needs from innovation.

So, to build the 3 C’s of capabilities, capacities and competencies we can follow people’s equation and invest in coaching and mentoring to really accelerate these.