Innovation Junkies Podcast

BONUS: Executing Your Innovation

The Jeffs discuss the innovation blueprint and the three components of driving sustained results for your business. These can’t-miss topics of executing innovation include: creating the right climate or team around you, building your base of support with customers and stakeholders, and making innovation stick by ingraining it into the company culture.

Jeff Standridge: This is Jeff Standridge, and this is the Innovation Junkies Podcast. If you want to drastically improve your business, learn proven growth strategies and generate sustained results for your organization, you’ve come to the right place. Over the next half hour, we’re going to be sharing specific strategies, tactics, and tips that you can use to grow your business, no matter the size, no matter the industry, and no matter the geography.

Weekly we’ll bring in a top mover and shaker, someone who’s done something unbelievable with his or her business, and we’ll dig deep. We’ll uncover specific strategies, tactics, and tools that they’ve used to help you achieve your business goals. Welcome to the Innovation Junkies Podcast.

Hey guys, if you’re looking to put your business on the fast track to achieving sustained strategic growth, this episode is sponsored by the team at Innovation Junkie. To learn more about our Growth DX, go to innovationjunkie.com/growthDX. Now, let’s get on with the show.

Jeff Standridge: Hey guys. Jeff Standridge here, and welcome to this bonus episode of the Innovation Junkies Blueprint. Hey Jeff.

Jeff Amerine: Hey, man. Bonus episode, this is kind of like winning the $2 scratch off, right?

Jeff Standridge: That’s exactly right. It’s just one thing short of buy-one-get-one free.

Jeff Amerine: That’s great. So-

Jeff Standridge: Since all of them are free, I guess it’s technically buy-one-get-all-of-them-free.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah, absolutely. You’ve architected this innovation blueprint that we use and all the innovation facilitation that we do with clients and whatnot. I know we’re going to zero in on a very specific part of that. What are we going to talk about today?

Jeff Standridge: Well, we’re going to talk about the third component of the Innovation Leadership Blueprint, which is generating your sustained results, or actually executing the innovation. So we spent one bonus episode talking about the problem component of innovation, we spent the second bonus episode talking about human-centered design or empathetic design, the solution component. Today we’re going to talk about, okay, now how do you execute it and drive sustained organizational change around the innovation?

Jeff Amerine: That’s really a critical part, isn’t it? Because if you do all the other processes well up to that point, but you don’t execute well, you don’t ultimately deliver the outcomes that the organization is looking for.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah, that’s right. You and I have been in situations organizationally before where a big, major new thing’s going to roll out and it falls flat after a few months, and effectively rides off into the sunset with no real impact on the organization. So, that can be because we didn’t really know the problem we were trying to solve, or we had a solution searching for a problem to solve. It could be because we didn’t really meet the customer needs or a problem with the solution design, in that it was not rooted in empathy of the customer needs, or it could be that we just didn’t orchestrate the execution component very well.

Jeff Amerine: What are some of the essential aspects of that execution component? From top to bottom, what do you need in order for that piece to really work right?

Jeff Standridge: So the Innovation Leadership Blueprint will be available in the show notes for download, so we’re really moved to the far right side of that, the execution of the innovation or solution. We’ll start at the bottom, we’ll go bottom to top. The first component of driving sustained results is to create the right climate for those results. The way you do that is, number one, you get to use the Jim Collins phrasiology, you get the right people on the bus. You make sure you have the right team.

The second thing that you do is you build a compelling vision around the change, and many times we learned some meaningful stories or meaningful illustrations as we were defining the problem and creating the solution that we can use to help us kind of craft the story around that compelling vision. But we know where we’re going with the execution of the solution. We know what success looks like in the end. We build a right plan around it.

We can’t just hope that we achieve our intended destination. We’ve got to actually build an execution plan around that. We’ve got to have the right cadence to make sure that we’re monitoring the key performance indicators of that plan, the key progress milestones of that plan rather, and then we have to have the right scorecard. Are we measuring the right things to determine that we’re on track? So, that’s the first element and it’s in creating the right climate. Right team, right vision, right plan, right cadence and the right scorecard.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah, I mean, it’s good stuff. It’s so central that the leaders bought in and the leader has the middle level, or supervisors bought in as well so that it filters all the way down, because if there’s any weak links in that chain, it makes it really difficult for the execution plan to be carried out.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah. So once you’ve built that internal framework for executing by creating the right climate, then you begin to start looking externally in building that base of support. When I say externally, that can mean externally to the actual paying client outside the organization, but it can also mean external to the project or external to the solution, external to the plan that you’re getting to roll out and looking at those folks across the organization. For instance, in building that base of support, you want to activate your early adopters and your end users. So, figure out a way to get in front of some of those early adopters and get them to begin getting on board with the execution plan that you’ve developed.

By the way, the influencers and potential saboteurs are part of that group as well. Those people whom you think can help you gain ground in the implementation because they can influence others, or perhaps those folks who could be potential detractors or saboteurs that you would like to get on board early as well. Then you want to engage your customers and key stakeholders, the prime people that you’re going after, that broader base of support, what have you. You want to communicate early and you want to communicate often.

As you know in the absence of facts, people generally tend to fill in the blank with their own innuendo, and usually it’s wrong. So we want to prevent the opportunity for the rumor mill to get us off-track, and we want to make sure we’re communicating early and often. We want to empower people to be successful with this new innovation or this new solution, but we also want to hold the team and the users accountable for actually using it in the way that it was intended. And then we want to find and celebrate those short-term wins. It can’t just be about the three-year implementation. We have to have progress milestones that we identify, and celebrate along the way.

Jeff Amerine: At regular cadence of drum beat or reinforcement that … and good and bad. Sometimes you’re going to have a milestone that you missed or whatnot, and you do a retro or a post-mortem on it. But that whole idea that there’s a regular cadence of reinforcement that you’re heading in the right direction is super critical.

Jeff Standridge: Yeah, and it’s almost two separate cadences, right? You’ve got your cadence of your team, the execution team, and then you’ve got the cadence that begins to also involve your key stakeholders and end users and getting feedback from them. Because what you will find, and this entire Innovation Leadership Blueprint is enveloped in this concept of stakeholder validation, customer discovery, stakeholder validation, and stakeholder buy-in. That doesn’t change when you implement, because you will learn things along the way from these influencers, saboteurs, early adopters, customers and key stakeholders that will help you improve the implementation as you go along as well.

Jeff Amerine: So, why don’t you just quickly recap the foot stompers for us? I mean, that was a really good run through, but what are the big three things that our listeners and any potential folks that want to head this route need to remember?

Jeff Standridge: Yeah, so create the right climate, and that’s making sure you got the right folks on the bus, you’ve got the right vision, the right plan, the right cadence. The second thing is you broaden out and you build your base of support by getting those customers, key stakeholders. You identify those short wins, those progress milestones and you celebrate those. Then finally, you want to make it stick, right? You want to actually ingrain it in the culture of the organization, and so you want to constantly be assessing, constantly be looking at where you are relative to where you thought you would be or you should be.

You got to confront the brutal facts. You’ve got to actually make sure that you’re using information, and you’re using factual data to help you assess where you are. You want to be willing to monitor and adjust. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going if you’re headed in the wrong direction, right? So, constantly monitor and adjust. You want to celebrate every chance you get, and you want to evolve the initiative over time in order to generate those lasting results.

Jeff Amerine: Jeff, that’s great stuff. I mean, I know our listeners will get great value out of this, and the key thing is that it doesn’t have to be about personal heroics and divine intervention. Innovation is a process, and that blueprint really does a fantastic job laying it out.

Jeff Standridge: Well, thank you for that. I agree with you. Not only does it not have to be about personal heroics, personal heroics will be detrimental in the long-term sustainability of an innovation program, so I agree with you there.

This has been a bonus episode of the Innovation Junkies Podcast focused on how do we generate sustained results through our innovation efforts. Thanks so much. We’ll see you on the next episode.

Jeff Amerine: See you next time.

Jeff Amerine: Hey folks, this is Jeff Amerine. We want to thank you for tuning in, we sincerely appreciate your time. If you’re enjoying the Innovation Junkies Podcast, please do us a huge favor, click the subscribe button right now and please leave us a review. It would mean the world to both of us, and don’t forget to share us on social media.

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