Most of my projects involves innovation in some flavour: new product design, software development, customer engagement or operational process change and many more aspects. I work on a project (contract) basis, typically 6 month and longer projects with clients. Presently I am coming to the end of some contracts and on the search for new ones. Many times this involves tendering, networking and plain old job searches in various job recruitment websites.
Frequently I am amused when looking at innovation management, project management with innovation positions (not pure new product development roles): Candidates must have X years, Y experience, Z skills but all in the area of the position.
Surely innovation needs a broader skill set. Bringing in experience from difference fields, sectors and life in general. Do they understand the term innovation, I often wonder ?
Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a better and, as a result, novel idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself. Innovation differs from improvement in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than doing the same thing better. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innovation
Yes, we need a sound platform to work from, an understanding of the environment that a position requires is necessary, but surely still missing the point. If you come from a company in a similar field to another, what can you offer in terms of innovation other than product or sector knowledge.
What can you bring to the table?
- Do you or can you bring a different perspective on a problem?
- Have you the ability to re-frame the problem in a different lense (design thinking) ?
- Can you bring empathy to the project, customer understanding and engagement skills?
- Being Creative?
- Curiosity as to why it something works as it is.
Working in the innovation sphere, in my opinion needs a well rounded skill set. Ability to use a diverse toolkit; brainstorming, listening, empathy, understanding, patience and more besides.