After working on hundreds of innovation consultancy projects, one fact remains. If you can’t get executive sponsorship of the final concepts, they will never launch.
Here are our 4 tips to get senior management on board in solving the problem with you as part of the process. This will set them up for feeling invested in the outcome of the innovations in the marketplace.
1. Extract all of the starting hunches, ideas and hypotheses around the project
Make sure you are all in agreement about who you want your innovation to target and the problems you know at this point in time that need solving for those consumers.
2. Encourage wild and expansive thinking
Have your team begin to think of all the weird and wonderful things that they aren’t allowed to voice normally that could solve the problem(s) you have already identified. Then, get them to think about potential solutions.
3. Re-write their role
Instead of setting them up to analyse the results at the end of the process in a pass/fail or yes/no dynamic, have them be part of a team invested in finding a winning solution. Instil the mindset that they are not there to be judges on what the consumer may ultimately want – their role is to think of all the possible solutions that a consumer could be offered (with the boundaries of brand fit, legal/regulatory scope and operational feasibility).
4. Use their expertise
Make them feel valued early in the process by using their higher level of expertise to help figure out how to make some of the possible or more difficult solutions technically feasible and market viable. We have witnessed naysayers being transformed into complex problem solvers on the widest array of issues, such as packaging, technology, claims etc.
Many members of this group are pre-conditioned to say “no, here is why it won’t work”, and this habitual knee-jerk has caused billions of cash investment the world over to be left on the innovation’s cutting room floor. By getting their enrolment early, and by making them part of the process and solution, they work toward, rather than against new products and solutions.