The Politics of Innovation


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This talk highlights some of the key pitfalls innovators face when taking the challenge of champion new ideas into or across any consumer organization.

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The Politics of Innovation

  1. 1. Crossing the Innovation Bridge Connecting Theory to Reality Malcolm De Leo
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>The Innovation Bridge : Path to change </li></ul><ul><li>Culture : Moving towards seamless function </li></ul><ul><li>Politics : Breaking down the issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When is innovation in danger? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are you dealing with? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Study: Navigating the political waters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What makes it die? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What makes it live? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can you learn to navigate the landscape? </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The Bridge to Innovation – Foundation for Change Successful Innovation is grounded understanding where your organization is lacking Process + The Needed Order - Opportunity Loss Organizational Structure + The Needed Order - Opportunity Loss Functional Execution + Innovation Reality - Driven by Tactics Theory + Great Impact - Low $$$ Value The Bridge to Reality You can have great Innovation Theory or Process… You can have the Innovative Structure or Executional Excellence… But without navigating organization politics or culture...The Impact is Diminished! Politics/Culture + Speed it Up - The Death of Change
  4. 4. Driving Towards an Innovation Culture An enlightened innovation culture is one that trusts its people’s ability to lead the strategic direction of the organization <ul><li>Create – Innovation push into an organization/customer </li></ul><ul><li>Enable – Innovation pull from an organization/customer </li></ul>Create Enable Do For Me Do With Me Untrusting Tactical Inefficient Collaborative Strategic Functional Trusting Tactical Functional Trusting Strategic Efficient <ul><li>Do With Me – A state where the accountable wants to exert a close relationship to the work </li></ul><ul><li>Do For Me – A state where the accountable trusts a person/team to lead decision making </li></ul>
  5. 5. Where Politics Play During Innovation Creation Understanding where the danger lies will help one successfully innovate Identify Innovation Create Proposal Plan Proposal Sell Proposal Implement Proposal Market Needs Competitive Intelligence Technology Strategy Develop Strategy Determine Breadth Identify Standards Legitimize Proposal Develop Case Develop Metrics Identify Stakeholders Align Allies Pre-Sell Stakeholders Gain Line Alignment Improve Proposal Sell Upward Clarify Plan Create Timelines Develop Resources Do the Work Identify Improvements
  6. 6. Basic Political Archetypes Who are you dealing with? Fence Sitting Revisionists Hammers Collaborators <ul><li>Work together to win </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible partners </li></ul><ul><li>Share the credit </li></ul><ul><li>Push other’s agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperative to a fault </li></ul><ul><li>Scale Builders </li></ul><ul><li>Indecisive </li></ul><ul><li>Subordinate </li></ul><ul><li>Risk Averse </li></ul><ul><li>Very Politically Active </li></ul><ul><li>Opinion Switchers </li></ul><ul><li>Credit Thieves </li></ul><ul><li>Relentless </li></ul><ul><li>Action-oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence of position </li></ul><ul><li>Judgmental </li></ul><ul><li>High body count </li></ul><ul><li>Decisive </li></ul>
  7. 7. Clorox Case Study: Technology Strategy Process Integration <ul><li>Internal Challenge : A team is asked to develop a SBU technology strategy to help re-invigorate a very dry pipeline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SBU Interests : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Create an technology strategy that delivers short, medium and long term technology leads for new products </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Own the success of the effort </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovator’s Interests : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Build a new functional capability that is reproducible and not merely a one-off effort. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Utilize opportunity to further drive Clorox corporate culture towards one of open innovation (through new tools) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The Political Playing Field <ul><li>Negative Forces </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Differing Agendas : Effort represents SBU versus Corporate Interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boss is afraid of change : SBU Stakeholder is a fence-sitting revisionist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Turf Issue : Innovator’s boss recently completed a one-off strategy process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding : SBU counterpart does not grasp innovators’ higher order interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stay off my Turf : Innovation Co-Lead is the expert at innovation toolbox and doesn’t trust others easily </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Positive Forces </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Encountered the desperate : SBU leader under pressure to fill a very dry pipeline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong Ally : SBU counterpart is an major ally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional Credibility : Innovator has credibility at leveraging external technologies/partnerships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Motivated Ally: Innovation Co-Lead was recently given no credit by Innovation boss for one-off strategic process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kindred Spirit : Innovation Co-Lead fills the innovator’s blindspots </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding Interests ’: Innovator’s boss is just that…the boss </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Political Strategy: Create/With Details along the way… <ul><li>The Process – Key highlights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Created ownership – SBU scientists critical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leverage what exists – Internal innovation tools/partnerships were utilized </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broke new ground – used project to test novel capabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key political mantra’s used along the way </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding the decision-makers type – I stayed away from the SBU leader and let my SBU counterpart handle it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Utilized opposite-minded partners – The team all brought its individual strengths to the effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Find bolt-on opportunities – New tools were integrated into the initial interest of a technology strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sell high informally – Seized opportunity to take the corporate process to VP R&D to ensure it remained big </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Success has many parents, failure is an orphan – Always expected others to jump on board which </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The Results: A New Capability <ul><li>The Business Output : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At recommendation : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>7 technology projects created </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pipeline filled with feeders for 7 years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3-5 patents filed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After 2 years : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>6 projects created from technical insights with over $30MM NCS projected in 18 months </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The Process Results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Process won Global R&D Innovation award in 2007 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process enabled 4 new innovation tool partnerships to blossom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process is now R&D best practice for developing technology plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 other SBU projects completed in the last 2 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 technology platform strategies developed over the same period </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Politics Kill Innovation Because… Poor Influence Risk Aversion Personal Issues Interest Issues <ul><li>They don’t… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>understand it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>see the value for them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>believe you are right </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>have enough data </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They have… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>been influenced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a boss who’s afraid of it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fear of the risk of innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>had a similar bad experience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They don’t… </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>care about it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>have the same agenda </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>capacity to support it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>see the value vs. other work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>They have… </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>issues with you personally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>allies with issues with you </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Issues with people on their turf </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>distrust of your motives/interests </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Great Innovators are often successful because… Data Drivers Power Drivers Personal Drivers Influence Drivers <ul><li>They have… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>leveraged corporate culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>made big issues small </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>strong standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>clearly articulated plan </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They have… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>unseen influence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>risk tolerant client </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>decision-making authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>created hierarchical cascade </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They have… </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>successfully built a supportive coalition </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>understood others’ interests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>encountered the desperate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>access to decision makers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>They have… </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a successful track record </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>professional credibility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>strong allies/relationships </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>found an innovation kindred spirit </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The Innovator’s Political Mantra Gaining self awareness is key to successfully creating and realizing Innovation value <ul><li>Preparation </li></ul><ul><li>Know thy Client </li></ul><ul><li>Understand decision-makers personality types </li></ul><ul><li>Know why you shouldn’t do it </li></ul><ul><li>Success has many parents failure is an orphan </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>The Concept-Approach principle </li></ul><ul><li>It’s your fault they don’t understand </li></ul><ul><li>Know when to start selling and when not to </li></ul><ul><li>Never innovate by article or book </li></ul><ul><li>Influence </li></ul><ul><li>Sell high informally </li></ul><ul><li>Patience is a virtue </li></ul><ul><li>Learn how to lead the horse to water to drink </li></ul><ul><li>Sell you ideas in bits and pieces </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Always support your allies </li></ul><ul><li>Look for opposite-minded partners </li></ul><ul><li>Find bolt-on opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>There is enough credit to go around </li></ul>