Most people equate innovation with that eureka moment of a brilliant new idea; but that's just the starting point, according to Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, the authors of The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge. In fact, innovation is created only if the original idea is executed well.
Govindarajan and Trimble, both consultants, have noted that many organisations lack the managerial skills to convert ideas into reality. Their advice is to give each innovation initiative a special kind of team and plan. To build a successful project team, you must first divide the labour between the 'dedicated team', which works exclusively on the project full-time, and the 'shared staff', who help out as and when they are needed. Make clear what their roles and responsibilities are and negotiate with other managers to make sure sharing their staff won't lead to conflict.
In terms of a plan, there are three steps to follow: first, formalise the experiment; second, break down the hypothesis; and third, seek the truth - be brave in what you discover and don't tell people only what they want to hear. And remember what the inventor Thomas Edison said: "Genius is 1 per cent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration."
Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today