10 faces of innovation

We are often asked how an innovation team should best be staffed so that good ideas can be developed. The answer basically depends on the objective, but the innovation success of the team increases with the diversity of its members. An interesting concept for the selection of good innovation teams are the “10 Faces of Innovation” described by Tom Kelley, the founder of the Californian think tank IDEO:

The anthropologist has the ability to watch people closely as they interact with and respond to products or services. He has a wide range of interests and a broad general knowledge. Especially in the first phase of the idea process, the anthropologist is an important support.

The experimenter focuses on the rapid testing of ideas. With great perseverance he tests different approaches and always finds new ways to make the result even better and different. As soon as the first ideas are born, the experimenter is at his best.

The idea pollinator develops new ideas by combining existing know-how and concepts in new ways. He also draws on external resources. The team often sees him as a lateral thinker who brings new perspectives to the work.

The collaborator always has the team in focus. He accompanies the innovation team during the process, has a particularly high level of empathy and can create a good atmosphere even in difficult situations. Especially when team members sink into their “work silos”, he ensures joint activities and a stronger team dynamic.

The obstacle runner sees his challenge in mastering tasks that no one has tackled or solved before. He is the tireless problem solver in the team. Just when the feeling arises that things cannot go on, the obstacle runner leads by example and brings the group back into activity.

The director has the big picture in mind and a good sense of what the organization needs at the moment. He makes sure that resources are organized, recognizes opportunities and makes sure that the strengths of the individual team members are used to the full. He is often the spokesperson for the group and the connecting element between management and the grassroots. His function is important to ensure a high level of acceptance of the ideas developed.

The experience architect is constantly striving to generate great experiences for the customers. These can be products, services, digital products, rooms or events. His specialty is to make the experience for the customer extraordinary and unique.

The interior designer uses every opportunity to make the team’s working environment even better. The rooms he designs enable the individual to create an optimal working environment and stimulate creativity in the entire team.

The storyteller always manages to captivate people with his stories of initiative, commitment and innovation. He is familiar with all media that are suitable to create emotions and sets many people in motion with his stories. Ideas become a customer experience through his skills.

The supporter works with a lot of empathy to understand the individual customer in detail and guide him through the process. Again and again he builds the bridge between team and customer and senses exactly what the customer really wants.

According to Kelley, the “10 faces of innovation” do not necessarily mean 10 different people, but rather it may be that one’s own role changes during the course of the project and that the project members take on different perspectives and tasks. One thing is certain, however: Each characteristic will be in demand in the context of an innovation project and will find its position.

With inspiring greetings,
Christian Buchholz

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