Organizations get it wrong when they rely on only a few people to come up with all the new ideas. Instead, they should connect many colleagues who have the right skills and can foster innovation in others. Here are the three essential elements of such a network:
- Get the right people involved. The group has to include upper-level managers who can fund projects, leaders who have had success with past innovations, and technical experts.
- Cultivate the network. Give this extended group opportunities to mix together in productive ways. Hold regular meetings, events, and talks where innovators from across the organization can get together and share their experience.
- Educate others. Implement a company-wide education program, led by those in the network, on how to develop good ideas and how to transform good ideas into actionable plans.