When pursuing innovation, creating a dedicated innovation planning team allows you to focus efforts and resources in a way that can push you beyond your competitors.
Whether you are beginning with a lean and streamlined team or you are looking to build out an extensive team, finding the right combination of personas will help you establish a productive group of talented contributors who complement each other’s strengths.
Regardless of the size of your innovation team, here are the four personas you need to be looking for as you go through the hiring process:
This person is a market research connoisseur. They are obsessed with staying on top of the latest trends and they keep their ear to the ground when it comes to technology developments and innovation possibilities.
Innovation relies on understanding current market conditions, identifying gaps and finding new ways to meet emerging needs. The visionary naturally gravitates toward this type of information and will be a source of news and ideas that the rest of the team can be inspired to turn into innovative solutions.
Hiring managers should be on the lookout for someone with an insatiable hunger for learning and a passion for technology. These characteristics will serve the entire team well.
The advocate is the innovation team’s mascot and offensive leader who works to garner company-wide support and enthusiasm for the dedicated innovation team.
They have excellent communication and interpersonal skills that allow them to unite various departments around the common goal of innovation.
Hiring innovation advocates to your team is essential for permeating a culture of innovation throughout the company and bringing all departments together as a more cohesive team.
When looking for the right person to fill this role, think about the importance diversity of perspectives plays in successful innovation. Don’t worry as much about direct industry experience as a proven track record of leadership.
Bringing in someone with unique experiences can provide a new point of view and a valuable approach to tackling challenges, which is what innovation is all about.
This person is an internal entrepreneur. The intrapreneur embodies the drive and problem-solving abilities of an entrepreneur,
but they are able to apply these skills within the corporate environment.
Instead of building a whole new business, they often focus on a single problem while still remaining flexible. They don’t feel tied to or limited by their job description, which makes them feel more comfortable pushing boundaries without fear of failure.
As part of the innovation team, intrapreneurs bring vital energy and the ability to speak up and push ideas forward instead of letting them be pushed aside. Their passion is contagious and their inventive spirit can add the right amount of creativity to any project.
Look for people who aren’t married to traditional corporate structures and like to take initiative when they see the need for a solution. You want someone who can be a team player and still feel confident enough to advocate for more radical ideas.
The Devil’s Advocate
Working in an echo chamber is dangerous. If there is no one to speak up and ask probing questions, bad ideas turn into bad products and services.
The devil’s advocate is the antidote to groupthink. Without this persona on the team, you run the risk of wasting time and money because no one is willing to challenge others on the team or consider the team’s ideas from alternate perspectives.
Being the devil’s advocate requires a delicate approach. This person should be confident without being confrontational. They need to avoid stepping on any egos, but still be willing to bring their thoughts to the forefront.
Hiring managers should be on the lookout for people with excellent critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills.
Build Your Innovation Dream Team
With the right mix of talent, you can build a dedicated innovation dream team that will put the competition in your rearview mirror.
Creating an innovation team is key to keeping company stakeholders informed, finding opportunities, increasing the pace of innovation and successfully implementing ideas.
Without a dedicated innovation team, these tasks won’t receive the time and attention they deserve. Forming such a team provides the necessary focus that will make the most of your resources and drive innovation.