Empowering a team in a complex subject such as Innovation is not an easy task, which is why we have created Innocoaching. A unique methodology which allows your teams to learn innovation while executing a real company project. All in one!
Innocoaching is a methodology that has been developed to serve companies willing to embed innovation management principles in their culture and who are looking for support their teams in developing projects effectively and autonomously.
One of the most relevant points when teaching innovation, or improving performance in innovation management, is how to make a smooth transfer in such a complex subject. Most innovation training programs do not meet expected results because they are not easy to apply on the day to day. This is also why Design Thinking or Entrepreneurship seem attractive for several organizations today, as they are perceived as more practical and result oriented.
For over 10 years, when we were asked to design an innovation training and support program for a client, we were already aware of this paradigm. As a result, we tried to build a program based on an alternative approach with the idea of being more practical and result oriented. Together with Menno Marien, we have developed this new approach which we have called Innocoaching.
The basic idea of Innocoaching is to combine innovation management training together with real project development into one single methodology.
Innocoaching allows a team to develop a real project following a structured funnel methodology which we share with them, so they learn each piece of the process and apply it immediately. This enables them to quickly assimilate new information within the team framework which both aids and develops team work and resolves any arising practicalities.
With Innocoaching we co-develop a real innovation project by utilising our expertise and coaching with regular hands-on sessions coupled with your company knowledge and passion. Your team learns on the job while innovating a real project. This makes it a more natural approach to learning as it is based on hands-on development of an authentic situation.
A key point is the whole project being divided in small pieces or ‘pills’ designed to suit a 4 to 6 hour working session. During each session, one specific topic is addressed from a theoretical point of view and then applied to the project each team is developing. For example, the Opportunity Definition block is divided in 4 to 5 sessions, with each session detailing part of the used methodology, thus ensuring a deeper understanding and an effective output for the company projects being developed. We also ensure a relevant information flow from session to session, allowing a natural and continuous learning process, which builds a part of the mind-puzzle in each session.
We structure the whole process into regular meetings where your team works and interacts on the project. Regular feedback and issue sharing is an effective way to reinforce team learning while simultaneously delivering ownership of the process. Regularity of meetings ensures the job is done efficiently, deadlines are met and problems are solved as they appear rather than postponed. It also creates a team atmosphere which is very important in this kind of process, ensuring a high level of engagement among team members who are encouraged to participate actively. During meetings we can work on different subjects related to the project and, according to the phase, we can learn and apply different methodologies required along the innovation funnel. Each session has a similar structure in terms of agenda, while content and practical exercises are adapted to each topic. This also provides an excellent opportunity for learning and sharing within the team as well as with external experts who can be invited to individual sessions.
For example, if we were in a session dedicated to “concept refinement”, we would give some directional input and tips about it at the beginning, we would then practice some examples, and we could also invite an external concept writer expert to debate the issue. We would then allocate enough time for the practical part, allowing each team to apply what they had learned during the day to their own concepts. They would immediately use these learnt skills to develop and refine their own concept and we would also there to help them if necessary. Not to do the job for them, but to coach them in understanding and discovering the best solution for their needs.
Another key point is “co-development”. In the past, several clients told us that traditional programs or even Design Thinking approaches lack of some “deep strategic analysis” required by teams working in the field. Moreover, some strategic understanding on the battleground could help to develop better ideas and solutions, making the whole process easier and smoother. It is for this reason that we co-develop, which means we support your team and actively help it to define and develop their project by both thinking and acting accordingly. We put forward the right questions and help them to bring practical strategies into their daily project tasks. In some cases, we can also provide some concrete strategic analysis to illustrate or support a specific part of the project.
Innocoaching is a flexible program that can be adapted to smaller or larger groups of participants. It can easily be applied without major changes to your daily company activities or internal processes, so it does not require any significant and/or expensive strategic or organisational analysis. It is developed as an independent project designed to create and develop involvement in your team.
Finally, Innocoaching is a cultural game-changer. We do not only refer to innovation. We use real cases to understand what innovation really means and how it might be used to get the right results. It is a process of leading by example, which is one of the best ways to achieve real change in an organisation and encourage your managers to apply it to their projects. In all organisations where we have applied Innocoaching, the way teams have approached and worked on innovation projects has substantially changed and positive results have been achieved.
The final outcome is twofold. Firstly, a real company project is developed effectively and secondly, complete training in innovation management is undertaken which provides a toolbox that can be reused in all future projects.
As you can see, Innocoaching has been specifically designed for your company needs, allowing your teams to learn innovation by working on a real company project which fits to your growth strategy.
Do you want to create the right conditions and empower your team to really be innovative and develop its own ideas? If so, it’s time for you to discover the power of Innocoaching.
Posted by Xavier Lesauvage, executive, consultant and lecturer with 20+ years experience in marketing and innovation challenges within large consumer markets, aimed at delivering outstanding growth results.