“Ideas allow you to have a debate you wouldn’t normally have,” David Ross, innovation consultant, told the Dinte Team at a recent lunch meeting. Ross explained that he once had an employee that felt discouraged because ideas were not implemented very often. However, Ross clarified that this employee brought up points and suggestions that may not have been considered otherwise. “It doesn’t matter if a person’s ideas are 100% right. If they can make me think about situations differently or refine my solution, that is the value added,” says Ross.
Dinte Global Executive Search recently invited Ross to our boardroom to discuss innovation and various ideas which we can put to good use in our own organization. He explained that many people take entrepreneur classes in college but very few actually become entrepreneurs. When working for a larger organization as part of a team, a person must truly become an intrapreneur. Ross defines an intrapreneur as a person within an organization who is given the freedom and resources to initiate products and business ventures. Ross explains that intrapreneurs are the great, creative minds of the organization and don’t necessarily need to be at the top end of the organization. They do, however, need the right environment to allow ideas to flow. Ross suggests that organizations must:
- Develop an open, inclusive culture
- Be able to identify potential for growth and development
- Support employees and their ideas
- Provide the right resources to accomplish goals
- Create appropriate success metrics
- Give enough time to complete a project
While encouraging all these new ideas, all leadership teams must make sure they are asking the same three basic questions every time they innovate:
- What is the secret sauce?
- How can we defend it?
- How can we make money doing it?
The secret sauce of your organization is often your competitive advantage. Organizations should encourage ideas that make the secret sauce stronger and unique from the competition. However, no matter how good the sauce is, you must also be able to defend it. Organizations must ask: Where is our expertise? Why do people need it? Do we deliver the same great sauce to every client, every time? Finally, leadership teams must make sure the organization is profitable. Most organizations create additional services but this can be tricky. Sometimes new products or services will take business away from existing ones. Instead, Ross suggests going deeper with products or services you already have to avoid competing with your own products. Focusing your innovation and being open to all ideas can create a positive environment for development.
Dinte Global Executive Search would like to thank David Ross for coming to speak with us about innovation. We hope to use many of his ideas in our own business practices. You can find out more about David Ross on LinkedIn.