Fielding high-performing innovation teams

McKinsey&Company | By Matt Banholzer, Fabian Metzeler, and Erik Roth | January 2019

innovation teams 10 traits McKinseyCompany - Fielding high-performing innovation teams

Innovation is a team sport. For projects to succeed, they must be staffed with the right combination of talent. Here is how to ensure your initiatives have the players they need to win.

The CEO of a globally recognized bank is frustrated with the lack of innovation performance delivered by her company. She sets up an incubator charged with developing a portfolio of new high-growth businesses. Inside this incubator, she places teams of high performers from the core businesses of the bank in part-time roles. Recipe for success, or a road to nowhere?

See:  Passion For Banking Innovation Fueled By Fintech, Big Tech Disruptors

CEOs of other companies face similar challenges around innovation. They struggle to identify “intra-preneurs” within their organizations who possess the rare mix of commercial and technical skills to shepherd new products to market. Employees within R&D groups may not have the external orientation to uncover valuable customer insights, while commercial leaders often lack the technical acumen to translate client needs into product attributes. Hiring “innovators” from the outside isn’t always an effective solution as newcomers may struggle to navigate complex, operationally focused organizations.

It can be tempting for executives accountable for the delivery of critically important innovation initiatives to believe that simply assigning an initiative to high-performing talent will yield success. However, when it comes to innovation, it is rare to see individuals who possess the full range of skills needed to lead an initiative.

For starters, innovation initiatives require skills and mind-sets that are under-developed in even the highest performers. The obstacles that arise in optimizing an existing dominant business model, such as boosting same-store sales or making a factory more efficient, are well-understood. History can be a useful guide in mastering performance in these environments. Scaling a new business successfully, on the other hand, often requires the experience to respond to and navigate new contexts where the rules of success are yet to be written. Innovators must craft bold but realistic visions, conceive entirely new value propositions that sync with customer challenges, and manage extreme uncertainty. In essence, the team must operate more like a start-up that can adapt development and commercialization plans based on continuously challenging assumptions and learning what will propel their business to scale.

It’s unlikely that one person will possess all the capabilities such initiatives demand. The likelihood is even lower in large, successful organizations. Instead, our experience shows that a well-constructed team that brings together the needed abilities of a world-class innovator can compensate for the lack of “founders.” To do this, first you must understand what the critical traits are that drive the most successful innovators, and second, you must have a method of assessing your employees against these traits. With this information in hand, companies are able to form high-performing innovation teams.

Ten traits of successful innovators

Over decades of combined experience working with companies pursuing innovation-led growth and start-ups, we have identified ten traits that distinguish the most successful innovators (Exhibit 1). While many of these capabilities are well-recognized, we have seen that reframing the discussion from individuals to teams helps tremendously to unlock performance in most organizations.

See:  Quebec needs new innovation strategies to level the playing field for domestic tech

Assessing each team member’s innovation aptitude can help you build a stronger whole. The ten traits can be grouped into four categories. We find that a successful team needs a base level of competence in all four.

1. Vision

The first group of traits highlights the ability to identify opportunities and inspire others to pursue them. Articulating a compelling vision, and the skill to translate it into a differentiated value proposition that breaks through the noise of the marketplace is a talent in itself. Uncovering is an intrinsic curiosity to see the possibility in a given context and distill the most valuable insights. “Uncoverers” use these insights and pattern recognition to interpret unmet needs and define highly valuable problems to solve. Generating is the ability to develop meaningful value propositions that solve significant customer problems. The most successful “generators” meld the big-picture market context with a thorough understanding of an organization’s strategic position, including its underlying capabilities. Selling is the ability to explain the nuances of what creates the value for a new proposition and carefully tailor it to the target audience. “Sellers” are compelling enough to motivate people to sway internal stakeholders on the value of pursuing a given innovation opportunity and marshaling the required resources to drive commercialization. These people are also gifted in crafting the marketing elements of a new proposition.

2. Collaboration

People with the second collection of traits foster effective teamwork and change management, bringing cohesion to a group. Those strong at motivating tend to be charismatic leaders adept at spurring action by creating a work environment that tolerates failure as a necessary aspect of the innovation process. Networking is the essential skill in maintaining connections among all the stakeholders in a project. Successful innovators seek input from outside the team and—as importantly—outside the organization, linking with ecosystem partners such as universities, other start-ups, or incubators.

Orchestrating, meanwhile, refers to the ability to supply projects with the needed resources and to monitor the team’s activities to ensure these resources are effectively deployed; in other words, that workloads are distributed appropriately and the team can “do more with less.”

People with this skill combine attention to detail and the ability to anticipate roadblocks with an ease in developing relationships, talents that make them adept at resolving conflicts.

See:  A Focus on the Future: How to Run a Forward-Thinking, Profitable Business

3. Learning

Most entrepreneurs exhibit absorbing, a quality manifested in a deep curiosity about anything that could help their venture succeed and a willingness to explore leads as they arise. Such individuals continually pursue new ideas and quickly incorporate lessons from multiple sources.

4. Execution

The final group of traits enables quick decision-making amidst uncertainty while maintaining a realistic pace of progress. Pioneering skills enable individuals to break down ideas into an achievable sequence of activities. These team members tend to be the first to challenge the status quo, have resilience and perseverance when faced with setbacks, and quickly adapt plans to new input or conditions. Deciding encompasses strong critical-thinking skills that enable people to draw conclusions from imperfect information.

“Deciders” blend pattern recognition with a high degree of pragmatism which enables them to synthesize insights, draw implications, and get things done. Tabulating, meanwhile, is the ability to apply financial modeling to size an opportunity and then use scenario planning to de-risk a given project.

“Tabulators” use their quantitative orientation to accurately judge risks and payoffs as they plan their initiatives.

While some of these traits are complementary—for example, pioneers are often good decision makers, owing to their ability to forge paths and make judgments amidst uncertainty—almost no individual will possess all ten. Some leaders are great at inspiring others, but poor at timely delivery of results. Others excel at planning but need help with selling the vision. Just as the best entrepreneurs know what qualities they lack and surround themselves with individuals who complement their strengths, so corporate innovation teams must ensure that the group as a whole represents all the key capabilities. A team lacking people with uncovering skills will likely end up focusing on incremental change. A group without networking capabilities may end up tackling a problem outside the company’s core competence without spotting an opportunity to bring in a partner.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Fielding high-performing innovation teams The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Latest news - Fielding high-performing innovation teamsFF Logo 400 v3 - Fielding high-performing innovation teamscommunity social impact - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
NCFA Fintech Confidential Issue 2 FINAL COVER - Fielding high-performing innovation teams

AiAuthority | Kristina Podnar | Jul 8 2019 It’s hard to overestimate the role of small businesses plays in the American economy: Businesses with fewer than 5 employees account for 62% of all businesses in the U.S. More than half of all Americans own or work for a small business. Small businesses are responsible for two-thirds of all new jobs created each year. When you look at the magnitude of their economic impact, it would be easy to assume that small businesses know exactly what they’re doing and would be the obvious place to look for advice and best practices. The truth, however, is that small businesses power the economy despite lacking the resources of larger organizations: 77% of small businesses rely on the owner’s personal savings for their original funding. Only 40% of small businesses are profitable. The vast majority of businesses that fail, do so because of cash flow problems. Employees of small businesses wear many hats, starting at the top. The owners or leaders of small businesses are typically responsible for three or more of the following functions: operations, finance, sales, marketing, HR, customer service, product development, or IT. When you look at it that way, it’s ...
Read More
digital policy and security - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Canadian Consulate General in Hong Kong | Eunice Wong | July 16, 2019 [INVITATION] Webinar:  FinTech Market and Opportunities in Hong Kong / Canadian FinTech Trade Mission to Hong Kong @ HK FinTech Week 2019 You are invited to attend a Webinar - Hong Kong FinTech Market and Opportunities on July 23, 2019 (Tuesday)  9:00AM - 10:30AM Toronto Time Join us as we discuss the current Fintech Market in Hong Kong. This webinar will cover the following topics: HK Fintech Market and Ecosystem HK Fintech Opportunities HK Fintech Week 2019 as a platform Canadian FinTech Trade Mission to Hong Kong FinTech Week 2019 Speakers: Mr. Charles Ng, Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion, InvestHK Mr. King Leung, Head of Fintech, InvestHK Mr. Musheer Ahmed, General Manager, Fintech Association of Hong Kong See:  Hong Kong being pulled into the 21st Century — digital banking licenses finally arrive Agenda: Event Introduction by Ellen Cao, Ontario government (10 minutes) Hong Kong Fintech Market by InvestHK, Mr. Charles Ng, Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion; and Mr. King Leung, Head of Fintech (30 minutes) Hong Kong Fintech Market by Fintech Association of Hong Kong Mr. Musheer Ahmed, General Manager (10 minutes) Q&A (15 minutes) Government of ...
Read More
Government of Canada Hong Kong - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
NCFA Guest Post | July 16, 2019 Every day, new startups are launched and another entrepreneur decides to begin building a business. One of the challenges that startups often face is managing their money effectively. Managing business finances can differ from personal finances as one mistake could trigger several issues in your business. Being as meticulous and accurate as possible is one of many ways to grow finances in a healthy way. It’s also imperative that you keep your expenses low which can be done in numerous ways. On that note, here is how you can manage your finances if you happen to have a new startup. Create a Budget Every business that wants to effectively manage its finances needs a budget. This will give you an accurate idea of what your income and expenses look like so that you’re able to spend wisely and plan effectively. Below, you’ll find a couple of tips for creating a budget. Income: Firstly, you’ll need to write down every source of income that your business has. In the case that you don’t have any income yet, create a financial forecast and estimate how much you think you’ll make. Your goal will be to ...
Read More
Managing finances in a new startup - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Impression Ventures | Christian Lassonde | July 16, 2019 Intro:  NCFA Fintech Confidential spoke with some of Canada’s experienced fintech investors, on their background, how Canada has evolved, what we should be doing, advice to fintech founders and what keeps them awake at night.  This is part 3 of a 4 part series. What is your background, and how did you come to found Impression Ventures? I'm graduated from Western in the mid-90s with two degrees. Comp-Eng and Comp-Sci. I immediately started my own business, excited by the endless possibilities the internet could bring to gaming. I had no idea what I was doing - needless to say, that company didn't work out. But the lessons I learned being a first-time entrepreneur have stayed with me to this day. From there I moved to the Valley, worked for some all-star companies; Electronic Arts, LucasArts, Linden Lab, got an MBA and founded two more businesses, Millions of Us & Virtual Greats. After a decade in the San Francisco area, I moved back to Toronto. After a fourth startup (didn't work out) - I got very interested in the intersection of finance and technology, two businesses sectors Canadian's excel at, but there was ...
Read More
Impression Ventures - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Coindesk |Michael J Casey | Jul 15, 2019 Let’s be clear: It was not the substance of Donald Trump’s tweet that made his critique of bitcoin and Libra so important last week. It should be of no surprise that this US President would declare himself “not a fan” of “highly volatile” cryptocurrencies “based on thin air” that “facilitate unlawful behavior” or that he much prefers a “dependable and reliable” currency “called the United States Dollar!” (Anyone who assumed Trump would be a “drain-the-swamp” libertarian advocate for censorship-resistant money had an ill-informed view of a man whose government is stacked with former Wall Street execs, who opposes free trade and immigration, and takes a draconian approach to a variety of civil rights and social liberties.) What matters is the very fact that a sitting president mentioned cryptocurrencies at all. Indeed, from a price perspective, Trump’s disparaging remarks are, on balance, positive for bitcoin. By Friday evening, the post-tweet price action reflected that. See:  Fintech Fridays Episode 32: Rallying behind Bitcoin with Frederick T. Pye More importantly, the tweet marks a symbolic milestone in the gradual but ever-expanding presence that cryptocurrency occupies in the public conversation around money and policy. It also marks ...
Read More
donald trump not a fan of bitcoin - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Cointelegraph | Helen Partz | July 10, 2019 Global payment giant Visa has recorded its second investment in a crypto project by leading a $40 million funding round of Anchorage startup, according to a Fortune report on July 10. Visa has reportedly led the round along with major cryptocurrency venture capital (VC) firm Blockchain Capital to support institutional-grade crypto custody service Anchorage, which previously raised $17 million in an investment led by Andreessen Horowitz. In the new round, both the amount of Visa’s contribution and Anchorage’s private valuation were not disclosed, the report notes. Both Visa and Anchorage are founding members of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra, which was officially revealed on June 18. See:  Ethereum will match Visa in scale in a ‘couple of years’ says founder As Fortune noted, the recent funding round is the second known investment of Visa in a crypto-related firm, with the payment giant having participated in a $30 million funding round in blockchain startup Chain back in 2015 alongside with Nasdaq and Citi. In late 2018, Chain was acquired by Stellar-focused firm Lightyear. The new funding will be used in Anchorage’s mission to provide an alternative to cold storage-based institutional custodies to ensure the ...
Read More
visa invests in crypto - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
The Block Crypto | Frank Chaparro | July 10, 2019 Quick Take The Security and Exchange Commission approved Blockstack’s token offering under Reg A+, an accelerated path for smaller companies to raise money publicly This is the first approval the SEC gave for a token offering, after a series of crackdowns the regulator led against unregistered ICOs it deems as securities The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave blockchain startup Blockstack the go-ahead today to conduct a $28 million digital token offering under Regulation A+, the first token offering of its kind ever approved by the SEC, according to the firm. The SEC has launched a series of crackdowns on unregistered initial coin offerings (ICOs), with the latest including a dispute with messaging app Kik over its $100 million ICO. Still, Reg A+ offerings have had their own headaches. Reg A+ is a fast track for smaller companies to publicly raise money with less strenuous accounting and disclosure standards than a regular token offering requires. Even so, Blockstack founder Muneeb Ali told the Wall Street Journal that the process is still very long and costly since the SEC had to devise a brand new protocol for token offerings under Reg ...
Read More
Blockstack Reg A token sale 1 - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
NCFA Canada | July 6, 2019 JOIN US ON A STORYTELLING JOURNEY EVERY FRIDAY. Ep34-July 6: Accelerating Fintech Growth HOST: Manseeb Khan, Fintech Friday's show host GUEST:  BRENDAN HOLT DUNN, Founder Holt Accelerator, (Linkedin) BIO:  Brendan is an investment guru who has close to 15 years in managing multi-billion dollar asset portfolios. He is currently the CEO of Holdun, a 5th generation family business which offers family office services, wealth management services, trust services, corporate services, concierge services and financial services and was awarded best Multi-Family Office in the Caribbean 2017 for Holdun Family Office. A tech savvy investor, he has made many investments in startups including Stradigi AI, Addepar, Uber, LeAD Sports Accelerator, Sway Ventures, and Falcon 5. He has accumulated five finance and investment certificates to compliment his finance degree from King’s University College. He’s considered by entrepreneurs to be founder friendly. About this episode: On this week's episode of NCFA's Fintech Friday's Podcast, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with Brendan Dunn the Managing partner of the Holt Accelerator program. They talk about why are accelerators are important, how the can find the right companies and what their Fintech Show is. Enjoy! Subscribe and tune in each ...
Read More
FF EP34 Brendan Holt Dunn - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
CNN Business | Clare Duffy | July 4, 2019 New York (CNN Business)American lawmakers are concerned that Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency may try to challenge the dollar and are demanding the company stand down. They want Facebook to immediately halt development of Libra until regulators have time to examine the plans and "take action," according to a letter sent Tuesday to the company by a group of lawmakers from the House Financial Services Committee. Chairwoman Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, first suggested a moratorium on development the day Libra was announced. The new letter represents an escalation of pressure on Facebook's digital currency plans, which have also been scrutinized by regulators around the world. Other interest groups have weighed in, too: More than 30 organizations sent a similar request to Facebook on Tuesday, saying US and foreign regulatory systems are not prepared to address questions about "national sovereignty, corporate power, consumer protection" and other issues raised by the project. The lawmakers said they want to hold public hearings on the "risks and benefits of cryptocurrency-based activities and explore legislative solutions." "Failure to cease implementation before we can do so risks a new Swiss-based financial system that is too big to ...
Read More
libra - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Bicameral Ventures Release | June 27, 2019 TORONTO, June 27, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Bicameral Ventures, the fund powering value creation through their "Interconnected Investing" model, announced today a highly strategic investment in Balance aimed at accelerating its growth. The investment brings Bicameral's portfolio to nine projects that are targeting challenges in various layers of the technology stack, with an aim of delivering superior end-user experiences by leveraging the blockchain and associated virtualized technologies. "Most M&A destroys value, especially as the problems centrally-planned corporations are trying to solve grow increasingly complex. Instead, Bicameral has brought together a group of independent yet 'interconnected' projects working at all layers of this novel technology stack, to attack multiple facets of the largest challenges. Balance, with its unique take on institutional grade custody for digital assets and hyper focus on UX and connectivity, provides an important building block in the delivery of unparalleled end user experiences that leverage decentralized technology," said Alex McDougall, Chief Investment Officer, Bicameral Ventures. See:  Crypto Custody: Our Shared Journey Towards Mass Adoption Balance adds another critical component to Bicameral's unique portfolio of highly complementary projects focused on accelerating Web 3.0 adoption. As a key aspect of executing on Bicameral's "Interconnected Investing" ...
Read More
Bicameral and balance - Fielding high-performing innovation teams