“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer (1856-1950)
Communication plays a vital role in innovation management. When an employee that aspires to become an intrapreneur presents her or his idea to the company’s innovation council, the way the concept is crystallized, the extent the message is conveyed and the effectiveness by which the potential is made tangible, will make the real difference before moving forward and stopping. When an innovative project is completed, communicating benefits and success will give credibility to embark in even more challenging initiatives. Moreover, innovation teams are used to sharing lessons learnt from successes and failures, thus capitalizing on both.
In fact, there are multiple key elements of the innovation management architecture highly impacted by communication skills and practices.
Take innovation strategy, for example. The efficacy of all communication processes that support the strategy cascade within and outside of an organization are crucial to disseminate decision criteria to evaluate concepts and proposals.
On the other hand, take knowledge sharing, which enables building company-specific expertise and contents that – coupled with creativity – drive innovative thinking, acts, and results. It is all about communication! From a human capital management perspective, how talents perceive your company will make a difference to choose your organization or your competitor. Is communication crucial for the company’s image in the market? Well, no doubt. Need to represent your innovation portfolio? Communication is critical! Need to promote your next big thing initiative? Communication again is critical!
Considering all of the above, an increasing number of Chief Innovation Officers set communication high in their agenda and often hire communication specialists in their staff. With their help, innovation leaders reach out to their diverse set of stakeholders with multiple channels based on communication plans and systematic activities.
Time to go now. I leave you with a question. What communication practices do you use to support innovation in your organization?
About the author:
Marco Cigaina is Program Manager in SAP Service Innovation. He focuses on service innovation research, innovation management, and integration of stakeholders in the innovation process. He is the author of the book “Innovation Management Framework: enabling and fostering innovation in your company“.