How do you increase innovation for your organization?
1. Improve the innovation capabilities WITHIN your own organization.
2. Look outside your corporate boundaries for innovation that can be incorporated
For this post I am going to focus on #2. Decades ago far less companies existed. It was much easier to keep a handle on who in your space was working on what. These days the “spaces” are so much more fungible that it is increasingly difficult to know even where to look let alone how to evaluate what you see and what to do about it. The average executive is so “busy” that they do not have enough time to poke their head up and take a good look around.
A new position is starting to emerge inside of organizations. A friend and colleague of mine, Luke Diorio mentioned on a recent DCinnovation call that he is seeing a lot more of these positions starting to crop up.
The scout must understand (not necessarily set) the strategy of the company he represents. She must have a broad sense not only of your industry, but also related ones to know when innovations are relevant for incorporation into your firm. Larger companies will, of course, have multiple scouts each that focus on different areas.
The scout can save tremendous amounts of product development time by suggesting partner products rather than custom builds. The scout can help ideation by providing information about competitors in certain fields. The scout can identify new revenue opportunities that might have been missed in a isolated internal strategy discussion.
Research organizations like the Corporate Executive Board, Forrester Research, and Gartner Research can provide cost effective ways of performing scout activities, but your organization likely has needs that require additional customized focus.
Do you have a scout? Would one be worth it to your organization?