The Murky Middle? Driving Innovation Awareness And Engagement Across The Organization

Expert: Laszlo GyorffyCurator: Paul Hobcraft

Laszlo is President of EDG Inc. and for over 25 years, he has used Silicon Valley innovation strategies and practices to help client companies succeed in a rapidly transforming world.

00 // Intro

01 // How can you best get support for your new ideas?

02 // How can you ask for a stronger focus on and commitment to innovation?

03 // How can we educate our leadership and get them to understand the value of intrapreneurship?

// Summary

Once an organization decides to focus on fostering innovation, the entire company seems to brim with endless ideas and opportunities.

The challenge is how to develop a comprehensive, systematic way of analyzing ideas to identify the ones most worth exploring. To do that, Laszlo Gyorffy directs companies towards “structured curiosity” and the building of a discipline of innovation. In his discussion with curator Paul Hobcraft, he provided insight on how to transform raw ideas into innovation and increase awareness and capabilities across entire organizations.

How to move beyond raw ideas

Good ideas have inherent value and importance, but they’re only the starting point to a gritty, iterative and essential process. To implement that shift, Laszlo applies a straightforward methodology called CO-STAR that not only helps people polish their ideas, but allows them to cover their bases and move beyond the explanation phase to a persuasive pitch.

Customers: Who is the customer and what is their unmet need?
Opportunity: What is the full potential of the opportunty?
Solution: What is your solution for addressing the customer opportunity?
Team: Who needs to be on the team to ensure the solution’s success?
Advantage: What is your competitive advantage over the alternatives?
Results: What are the expected benefits to the customer and the returns to the organization?

According to Laszlo, sharing a common language and method like CO-STAR across an organization accelerates innovation, improves collaboration, and helps embed an intrapreneurial mindset in its culture.

Wake up the organization

To truly start implementing change, organizations need to kick-off with a fundamental understanding that nothing is going to slow down from here on out. Leadership needs to be trained to recognize new kinds of opportunities, allowing the outside world to permeate into the company’s core and establishing structures that let great ideas bubble to the top.

To engage with leadership, Laszlo suggests establishing a rotating Innovation Jury by asking executive and management to meet every few months to hear and give constructive feedback on polished CO-STARpitches and initial prototypes.

Get working

So how to translate all of those innovative ideas and approaches into action? Laszlo suggests two things to kickstart momentum:

Work the organization
Find sponsors, colleagues and experts that can help you navigate internal politics, answer critical questions, and gain support.
Ask for input before asking for investment.
Be gracious to your champions and listen attentively to their responses.
Integrate feedback into the next conversation, effectively turning it into “our” idea.

Work the idea
Mature your idea and define its value proposition for yourself.
Talk to close colleagues and then spiral outwards throughout the organization to gather key perspectives and continuously improve your idea.
Prepare a well-crafted elevator pitch.
Avoid the opinion trap (where an idea’s merit is judged merely by opposing one opinion against another) by collecting and providing as much data and experimental evidence as possible.

“Ideas are cheap and easy. We have to elevate the conversation and change the currency from simply talking about ideas. The challenge becomes: how do I shift from these raw ideas to a value proposition.”

Music for the people

When BBC1 leadership realized it was losing listeners because the radio station’s DJs were overplaying music that appealed to their “expert” ears, leadership mandated staff to personally experience the UK music scene again at concerts, in clubs or on the streets. Staff were also told to take pictures, which were then plastered across the BBC’s hallways.

This not only reminded DJs of the tangible experience of music, but breathed new vigor and life into their musical curiosity and relevance.