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A talent for bluffing and obfuscation comes in handy when playing poker. If you're good at it, you can amass a hefty personal fortune.
Now imagine a poker table with marketing, engineering, finance and the Blue Sky team each sitting around trying to outwit one another.
Regrettably, too many companies behave this way when it comes to product innovation and development. Individuals and departments try to win executive favor, budget dollars and personal power at the expense of customer value and company success.
In that kind of environment, product team members will make unilateral decisions... ignore agreed-to decisions... compete against each other... and blame each other. They'll hold their cards close to the vest by maintaining program data in spreadsheets and static documents, declaring them unavailable to others on the product team. Innovation expert Paul Sloane has blogged that this kind of internal politics "can reach the ridiculous stage where the enemy is seen as another department inside rather than the competitors outside."
This situation leads us to the second ingredient in this series of posts on transforming the innovation process: Replace the many truths with a single, shared truth.
Overcoming counterproductive behaviors and getting all team members to lay their cards on the table will be your biggest challenge. But your company's survival is at stake if you don't.
To start, research and employ best practices in collaboration. Encourage employees to break down organizational barriers and understand each other's roles and expertise. Consider using social networking platforms to help.
Replace the distributed sets of marketing and engineering documents with a single, centralized database so that everyone can access each group's data as well as the aggregate picture.
When evaluating innovation management software, make sure it supports dashboards and analytics so that team members can:
And remember, when it comes to victory through innovation, a team approach beats personal glory every time.