If we imagine innovation as being a ship, someone has to sail it through the stormy sea so that it reaches its destination safely. Now, who is the sailor? Any guesses? Yes, you are right — you, as the Innovation Manager! Just like a captain guides their crew, an Innovation Manager leads the process of innovation management — starting from ideation to the birth of the final product.
Since you have the potential to greatly transform any business, you must constantly self-analyze to continue learning and become a little bit better every day. To assist you with that, we have listed 5 qualities of a successful Innovation Manager. Continue reading to find out how many you have!
Explore the 5 Traits of a Successful Innovation Manager
1. Innovation Managers are Curious and Voracious Learners
One might argue Innovation Managers are senior folks, they have enough experience and expertise, what more do they need to learn? Well, a lot! Something new is happening somewhere in the world at any given time. According to our data, for example, there are currently over 2,5 million startups and scaleups working on emerging technologies globally. To act on this potential, innovation managers must stay up-to-date on the trends and innovations in their industry. After all, it is their bread and butter.
An effective leader is always curious about new developments in the market — be it a startup developing disruptive technologies such as how DataVisor uses AI to detect and prevent online frauds or a research team coming up with new methods, materials, or more.
2. Innovation Managers Do Not Hesitate to Experiment
What is innovation without trial and error? Behind the greatest successful inventions that we enjoy today lies a bunch of failures that we are not aware of. An innovator is a big risk-taker who is not afraid of experimenting and the possibility of failure. They dig deep into the reason for the failure, fix it, and try again with twice the determination. And, in case, it is not worth a second shot, they utilize plans B, C, and D which they had sorted out well in advance. However, if they do not have plans ready, they think on their feet and come up with quick alternatives such as scouting for new solutions externally.
3. Innovation Managers are Great Problem Solvers
Charles Kettering once said: “A problem well stated is a problem half solved”. This is true for any innovation team. It is very common to face a variety of challenges while working on projects. While the task owners must do their best to solve the issue on their own, they must have someone to turn to when they are at their wits’ end, i.e., their manager. The team captain looks beyond the symptoms and identifies the actual issue. The next step is to sit with the team and perform a root cause analysis. At times, the manager reframes the problem for a new perspective, and it works in many cases.
4. Innovation Managers are Excellent Communicators
Even if there is a dedicated team for innovation management, you cannot restrict innovation within a single team, it can spark from anywhere. The intersection of various departments often leads to great results. Successful Innovation Managers realize this and act as a bridge among the departments. They encourage all the teams to come up with new ideas and provide them the space to share them without any hesitation. They even ask for feedback on the innovation teams’ work to get a fresh perspective. This leads to enhanced intra-department communication. Externally, innovation managers deliver clear briefings to data-driven innovation scouting partners who are then able to deliver highly relevant results according to the given criteria.
5. Innovation Managers Know when to Look for External Innovation
Speed is the need of the hour in this fast-paced business world. At the same time, a successful Innovation Manager knows the importance of great results and efficiency. So, when the internal efforts are not enough to get these results while sticking to tight deadlines, successful Innovation Managers take advantage of external partners. These partners offer services including startup scouting, innovation scouting, trend intelligence, and more. By delivering the required results quickly, these platforms enable managers to effectively utilize their time while driving actionable insights taking their business to the next level.
Did we miss any traits of a successful Innovation Manager that you would like to see? Get in touch & let us know!