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Tips on Driving Innovation in a Big Corporate

Updated: Feb 25

We need to be more innovative! Does this catch-cry make you cringe? It certainly did me for a while! And then I reframed it, was able to make it happen and was eventually seen as one of those ‘innovative people’ in my workplace. Here are my top tips for driving innovation in your workplace, successfully. 


1.    Don’t call it “innovation”, call it “doing something new”. All of the sudden the bar is lowered, what you expect from your team becomes more achievable, everyone relaxes and contemplates doing new things. That’s a good start, isn’t it?


2.    Don’t look for innovation for the sake of innovation, start with a problem to solve. I have attended countless innovation brainstorms where people spent more time coming up with innovative solutions to problems that they didn’t have. Yes the idea may gather a bit of momentum on the day but senior management will kill it soon enough if it doesn't solve a genuine strategic problem or unlock an opportunity.


3.    Ultimately, driving innovation is about driving change so the same rules apply. It just sounds sexier at the time that’s all, but you’ll face the same hurdles when money needs to be spent to implement the idea, hence the importance of point 2.


4.    From little things, big things grow. Start small, show the impact and then ask for more. When I was leading a big pharmaceutical brand I was absolutely convinced that the medical education budget should be redirected to a disease awareness campaign on TV. My boss and the market access team was worried that our sales would blow out and the payer would get upset….so I sold it as a small scale pilot and I think you can guess what happened next… we went national, the brand turned into a blockbuster and no one complained about that.


5.    As a team leader, remember that your people and cross-functional team are watching your every move so walk the talk. Reward and recognise every single positive step in the direction of innovation, even if the attempts fail. So long as the strategic thinking is sound, then efforts to solve problems creatively should be rewarded, recognised no matter what.

What are your top tips? Share them below!


Need help coming up with sound strategic and innovative ideas? I’ve done it before and have lots more tips to help you drive change and innovation successfully in your workplace. Get in touch with me at Haven 35 to find out how.

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