Talents and Teamwork for Better Business and Innovation: A Five Functions Example


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The business units and innovation teams in large companies and organizations need to improve their capability for listening to their current and potential ecosystems and for responding and adapting to the threats and opportunities that they pick up by doing so. They also need to become better at communicating about their own capabilities in order to attract the best partners – internally as well as externally – if they want to succeed.

How do you set up such capabilities?

There are many ways for this, but in this example I hope I can give you some inspiration on how to bring together individuals with specific skills and turn this into a team that contribute with listening as well as communication capabilities.

The key message is that you need a team approach. Why? Because very few individuals have the mindset and the skills to do all of this for you and if you were lucking enough to have such a person on your team, I predict that you will lose that individual very soon anyways. They just have too many opportunities because of their unique talent and capabilities. So build a team…

I suggest you look into these five functions:

  1. Researchers. You need people who are good at finding information online and more importantly, they need to be very capable at judging what is good information and what is irrelevant noise. This is where you start building your content and knowledge about opportunities and threats within your industry.
  2. Communicators (writers). You need people who can take the good information found by the researchers and “package” it in appealing ways. This includes writing good blog posts and raising interesting discussion on own destination sites and setting guidelines on writing good tweets and posts on external channels.
  3. Networkers. You cannot separate virtual from physical activities when it comes to business networking today. They go hand-in-hand and thus you need good networkers who excel at connecting the dots that not only identifies new innovation opportunities, but also accelerate existing ones. These networks can be better equipped by the work done by the researchers and communicators.
  4. Speakers. This link to the above notes on networkers. Good public speakers are invaluable ambassadors for developing the perception of being a strong and agile company and thus help expand your capability for bringing out new products and services fast.
  5. Digital natives. This is the tricky part. At best, the above functions are covered by people who are digital natives i.e. someone who live and breathe digitally and master the use of social media. This is unlikely to be the case as we are still on a fairly early stage with regards to digital thinking and the use of social media in the context of business and innovation. A huge majority of those who makes your business run today and works on the future are not digital natives so you need to bring such a capability into your team to connect the digital dots and educate the other functions on how this works.

Although I mention five functions, I do not suggest that you should build teams with only five people. The key is functions, not people. You might have several people who can contribute on each function and you should try to create a team structure that allows for all of them to contribute.

This is important: You cannot bring in corporate communication people to do this work. They might be experts on research and communication, but they often lack the deep understanding of how business and innovation in your industry happens and this is key to extract and deliver real value.

Once the team is up and running, you should of course also make sure that everyone working with with these efforts within your company as well as stakeholders in your ecosystem help spread the word about the work done by this team.

This is still work in progress so let me know what you think.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


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