Lucy Gower is an innovation trainer and coach who has worked with NSPCC, Amnesty International and Greenpeace. In this guest post, she shares her top tips for getting your team on board with your great ideas.
Just because a technology is new doesn’t automatically make it innovative. For an idea to be innovative, it must meet an unmet need, solve a problem, exploit an opportunity or provide a better, more effective way to do something. Technology for the sake of technology is not innovation, it is simply a waste of time.
You may have big ideas, like iTunes, which changed the music industry, or Amazon, which disrupted the concept of high street shopping. You might have small ideas for making change happen like a tweak to a donation form that makes a big increase in donation results.
Both disruptive ideas and small tweaks can create big results. You could have the best technology on the planet to deliver your ideas, but unless you have your managers, and your colleagues inspired and enthused about why making change is important, quite simply, it is unlikely that your idea will get off the ground.
Does this sound familiar? If you have ever come up against “that’s not how we do things here”, or “it will never work”, or “we tried it before”, then here are five tactics to help unlock the barriers to driving digital change.
Articulate why the idea is important
Be absolutely clear on the problem, unmet need or opportunity that your idea addresses and why it is important. If you work for a charity, ultimately your idea will better enable the charity to achieve its core mission, for example, helping more children, curing cancer sooner or saving the planet.
Help people think it’s their idea
Involve the people from the start that you need on board to help make the idea happen. If someone is involved in the initial idea stages they are far more likely to back the idea. You could involve them in idea workshops or ask for their advice on developing the idea. You may need to put your own ego and need for recognition to one side in order to give your idea the oxygen it needs to survive.
Become a master storyteller
People take action when they feel something, and storytelling is the most effective way to connect with your audience’s rational head and their emotional heart. Tell the story of the positive difference the idea will make and their part in the story of helping to make it happen.
Create a win-win situation
Consider what you know about the person you are trying to influence: what would be a win for them and a win for you? For example, people looking for career progression would welcome the visibility of working on a new project, while others may be more motivated by the personal development a new challenge presents. The more you know about the person the better you can present a win-win to them that they find attractive.
Propose a test. A test cannot fail because you are simply testing whether something works or not. Develop a prototype or a pilot to test how an idea might work, then evaluate and adapt. This makes testing something new less risky and gives you the option to quit if it is not working or adapt and scale up if it is.
Developing your influencing skills might be the difference between success and failure because innovation does not happen in a vacuum. Innovation happens when people collaborate and find solutions that improve situations for colleagues, supporters and beneficiaries.
Check out Lucy’s new book The Innovation Workout for more tactics to influence or join her at the Institute of Fundraising Innovation Conference on November 16th to learn more about how to get people to love your ideas.
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