As with any other change management initiative, launching an Engaged Innovation Program requires a team and governance structure in order for it to be properly managed, evaluated, and to ensure a timely and successful implementation of ideas. The five roles below will help you build the minimum viable governance structure for your program.
The Five Roles for the Minimum Viable Governance Structure
1. Appoint an Executive Sponsor
The Executive Sponsor of the program is often a part of the senior leadership team. The role of the Executive Sponsor is:
- To establish the strategy of the engaged innovation program, and to introduce the topic of discussion to community members.
- To obtain insight and support from other senior leaders.
- To provide the Program Manager (see next point) with strategic direction on tactical elements.
Typically we find the Executive Sponsors dedicates about 1 hour every week supporting the Program Managers.
2. Assign an Program Manager
The Program Manager acts as the point of contact for the community and other members of the governance structure (aka the “go-to person” of the Engaged Innovation Program). This individual leads any and all essential tasks for launching an Engaged Innovation program, including coordinating the logistics for training as well as aligning the Idea Partners (see next point) with the Executive Sponsor.
Generally Program Managers spend between 2-8 hours depending on the support resources available and maturity of the program.
3. Select Your Idea Partners
Ideally, every program should have one Idea Partner from every function within the organization that is a part of the Engaged Innovation Program. These individuals manage, evaluate, and then implement top ideas and respond back to the employees and as such should be empowered to execute ideas. Ideas partners are the key to driving engagement and are accountable for the ideas that have been assigned to them by the Program Manager. Idea Partners are the key to community engagement and play a crucial role in getting ROI from ideas.
Generally Idea Partners dedicate about 2-8 hours depending on the complexity of the ideas that are being executed.
4. Ensure You Have Technological Support
Your technology support team has the job of providing recommendations on integration approaches based on your organization’s business requirements. These individuals are responsible for configuring the technology integration between the organization’s internal systems and the innovation management software, and work closely with the Innovation Manager to schedule activities and to strategically align the initiative’s overall direction.
If you’re running an innovation program from your email inbox (see this helpful idea tracker), you may not need technology support as a key part of your team.
5. Employ a Communications Support Team
The communications support team is responsible for developing internal communications content and strategies that will be used to engage your employees. The ongoing goal of these individuals is to continually generate excitement and awareness of the program, as well as keep the community updated on the progression of ideas.