We’ve talked to many leaders who know that they need to take a more entrepreneurial, consumer-centric approach to innovate, and need to kickstart those changes across the organization but have trouble figuring out what steps to take first. They want to be an advocate of change, driving progress toward a leaner, more entrepreneurial environment, but budget constraints prevent them from trying and learning new, entrepreneurial skills, tools, and methods that they know their team should be employing to get to stronger ideas.
We’ve become partners in crime for these leaders, working alongside them to navigate budget constraints and still equip them with a way to leverage new entrepreneurial tools, mindsets, and behaviors, and engage stakeholders along the way.
Here are a few principles that have enabled this to be true:
Don’t say “we can’t do that,” but ask “what needs to be true”: We partnered with a smaller food and beverage brand who had seen our team speak with Kraft Heinz about our 5-day Innovation Pipeline Sprint at Quirks Chicago. Rather than say, “we can’t do that,” this leader courageously asked the question: “What needs to be true to try this approach in my organization?” We partnered with them to develop a custom approach, tailor-made to their challenge and their organization’s constraints.
Bring stakeholders along early: When you’re trying to get buy-in for a new way of working, getting stakeholder engagement and buy-in is key. More and more leaders are receiving mandates from senior leadership to operate more quickly and more entrepreneurially, but there might be differences in how you see that coming to life. We’ve found that lunch-and-learns have been a great way to get leadership engaged and on board with allocating budget to trying a new approach against an important challenge.
Start small. Leaders have found it helpful to start by focusing on one piece of the process, and grow influence and increase stakeholder engagement through success. Leveraging a new build-test-learn method like Lean Concept Development has been an enabling way for teams to do this, as it gets the team in front of consumers in a new, more entrepreneurial way, and drives toward results that teams understand.
Stay laser-focused on the result, but be flexible about how you get there. Going back to that example of the smaller food and beverage company: while we were collaborating on the custom approach, we kept the end result in mind as we identified ways for them to take an innovation sprint approach with a smaller budget. Every challenge is different, and when we’re deciding how to bring consumers in and when, and in service of what, it is important to keep that end goal in mind.
Learn by doing. If you go into an engagement with a learning by doing mindset, this not only enables your team to build capability while tackling the challenge, but it also can help when you’re up against budget constraints. In the instance with the smaller food and beverage brand team, we trained them on how to moderate a Digital Ethnography and then coached them through the process. We trained them on how to identify pain points from the Digital Ethnography, team missions, and light desk research, and how to translate those into Jobs to be Done. These are pieces of the process that we’d historically take on, but because this team wanted to learn by doing, and be cost conservative where they could, we coached them through the process, and still enabled a very strong result.
Check those “we can’t do thats” at the door. What needs to be true for you to dig in, and find the courage to tackle your challenge in a new way?