Encourage bottom-up innovation

The Challenge

Build this capability - across the front-line and from front to back-line - to continually drive learning and innovation around your customers; from early entry concept development to full service delivery and optimisation.

  • Align team activities around customer problems.
  • Define how you'll collaborate - the rules of the game.
  • Make sure the key success metrics are easy to share and understand.

My Role

Design and deliver the innovation change programme; coach operational and management teams to extract and exploit customer insight and steer strategic road-maps.

The Process

Form a multi-disciplinary team aligned around solving customer problems

  • The team's purpose is to find creative ways to solve customer problems.
  • It is best to have representatives from a range of functions; design, technical, subject matter experts and so on.
  • Consider mixing the levels of seniority within the team so you have a range of perspectives, but with the caveat that the structure is flat.

Define the challenge

  • This business challenge needs to be clear - sponsors and leaders need to create a strong narrative to engage the team around.
  • Drive the importance of the holistic experience - front-line interactions with customers PLUS back-line support = EXCELLENCE.
  • Set the tone - this is test and learn (not over-planning and/or avoiding risk of failure) and taking calculated risks.

Introduce new ways of working

  • New team learning practices; encourage peer-to-peer coaching, probe issues, uncover underlying concerns
  • Design experiments, including new concepts, product features, service delivery and behavioural experiments
  • Continually track and share results so that the team understand their progress

Agree the rules of the game early

  • Be clear on commitment needed, and make sure members have the capacity to keep their promises.
  • Explore what the team will value and what will help to build trust e.g. what goes on in the room stays in the room (this may be very important in a risk averse culture).

Be disciplined and celebrate small successes to sustain team momentum

  • Early innovations often requires rapid and continuous learning so encourage little & often test and learn (fail) fast.
  • Don't break the rules ... this will erode trust.
  • Let the team experience and own the success.

Click here to learn how self-managing teams test new concepts directly on users and develop new services that make a real difference to target user groups.

Additional Information

Successful track record helping leading utility, financial and information services organisations develop bottom-up innovation capability.