To Sell Senior Management on Innovation, Communicate in Terms They Understand, Innovation Experts Say

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A new innovation experts panel, moderated by Chuck Frey of InnovationTools.com and Hitendra Patel of the Center for Innovation Excellence & Leadership of the Hult International School of Business has just published its first roundtable interview. The first major issue, recently addressed by this group, was innovation itself. How do you define it? And how can you make it understandable and saleable to your organization's senior management team?

A new innovation experts panel, moderated by Chuck Frey of InnovationTools.com and Hitendra Patel of the Center for Innovation Excellence & Leadership of the Hult International School of Business, has just published its first roundtable interview. The first major issue, recently addressed by this group, was innovation itself. How do you define it? And how can you make it understandable and saleable to your organization's senior management team?

This panel of practitioners, which includes innovation experts from top-tier management consulting and innovation consulting firms, Fortune 500 companies and academic institutions, identified three strategies to help to sell top management on supporting innovation:

1. Create or confirm a case for change (e.g., a burning platform or growth gap).

2. Talk about innovation in terms of tangible results to help create a better future.

3. Provide a step-wise approach to getting to these results and make the journey credible through anecdotes, past successes and even visualizing the story.

"The key here is to visualize the gaps," explains panelist Troy Geesaman from the innovation consulting firm Laga. "Numbers and data can support a story, but in most cases an illustration will have the impact needed to influence senior management."

"The good news is that more and more strategy departments and CEOs have already selected innovation as one of their strategic pillars for growth. The bad news is that there are other pillars that are easier to implement and the innovation pillar is being neglected," adds Hitendra Patel.

About the Innovation Experts Panel:
In December, Frey and Patel conducted a survey of innovation managers and Chief Innovation Officers to identify the top issues and questions faced by innovation practitioners. They have now started to interview their distinguished panel of innovation experts and practitioners about each of these topics.

The next issue to be addressed by this innovation roundtable will be: How do you source and manage ideas to come up with the best innovation opportunities for your company?

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Chuck Frey
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