Networking – The Innovator’s DNA

From the perspective of a leader of a team tasked with driving innovation, the second most critical skill from The Innovator’s DNA is Networking. The previous post covered Observing, which is primarily focused on learning from the market (consumers & customers). Networking is critical to learn from other industries, markets, regions, vendors, etc… Most people think of networking on an individual level, but the concept is just as appropriate for organizations. How well networked is your team? Are they in constant communication with a diverse group of people and external influences?

The ability for an R&D group to come up with innovative ideas is directly correlated to the amount of connection they have with the world around them.

1) How well networked are the key individuals on your team? Is your business benefitting from it?

2) Does your Innovation Strategy tap into this network, and do you encourage it?

3) How often do your people benchmark with of other industries, suppliers, or universities?

4) Are your Product Developers networking with people outside the field of product development?

The network effect created when a product development team is: a) well connected with the needs of consumers and customers (Observing) and b) connected with a diverse group of people who can provide insights on technical or design solutions (Networking) can be extremely powerful to accelerate innovation in your organization.