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If you have an problem innovating, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can staff an A-Team

The A-Team were my childhood heroes.. everyone loved the four main characters Hannibal, Face, Murdock and B.A. The team faced in each episode a new challenge, where the different expertise of each one was needed solve the challenge.If you take a deeper look at the A-Team you are able to identify traits exemplified by the A-Team that any Innovation Alpha Team should aspire to. These traits will be key to enabling the Alpha team to manage disruptive innovation.

  • They A-Team act as an autonomous Team, avoiding hierarchy. This enabled them to react quickly to different missions and decide define and execute plans without excessive bureaucracy or micro-management.
    • What can we learn for an Innovation Alpha Team ?

If you really face the challenge of a disruptive innovation, you should definitely set up a  dedicated  team of experts with a clearly defined mission “to find a business model for the new disruptive technology” . Ideally this mission should not be driven by a profit target.  The team needs to be dedicated because integrating an A-Team into a  “normal” “Formal” organization would focus investigations on  political diplomacy budgets and margin, rather than thoroughly investigating all of the possible applications for a disruptive innovation.  Disruptive innovation can never deliver the expected margin targets during its formative stages and trying to force disruptive innovation into a traditional, formal framework will always result in loosing focusing on the “mission” and wasting time and resources. Let’s remember that no A-Team episodes ended with the phrase “I love it when all of the project admin comes together and we’ve complied with all aspects of our corporate commercial diligence directives”.

  • The A team was a diverse team of experts: Hannibal whose plans tend to be unorthodox but effective; Face, the smooth-talking con-man who serves as the team’s appropriator of vehicles and other useful items; Murdock is the allegedly crazy one and the pilot;Last but not least B.A  is the team’s strong man and mechanic.
    • What can we learn for an Innovation Alpha Team ?

If you really want to have a good innovation Alpha Team its essential to have a team with different expertise and experiences. A crazy one: an engineer/developer left field thinker;  A Strategist and visionary; Sales & Marketing stakeholder with keen empathy;   and Business Model expert who may or may not have strong feelings about milk and flying.

I think there are even more elements of the A-Team analogy…an A-Team prize awaits the best suggestion ??

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