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

NCFA Guest Post | Oct 18, 2019 During the history of the stock market its value has typically climbed. This has seen the most successful investors profit by buying shares in stocks at a low price and seeing their value increase steadily over time. Playing the markets can be risky however, as entire investments can be lost. But with the right set of circumstances stock prices can increase in value greatly over the years. This reward and risk trade off is appealing to lots of investors. However, it is sometimes the case that investors believe that the value of a certain stock will decrease rather than increase. In such instances, buying these shares will result in the investor losing money. Short selling provides investors with the opportunity to profit from the price of a stock decreasing in value. This practice is also sometimes referred to as going short on a stock and provides the investor with a profit should the price of a stock decrease. However, if the price of the stock goes up then the investor will face losses. How is shorting a stock done? This process involves lending shares of a stock that you wish to sell from ...
Read More
Beach trading 1 - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Financial Post | Geoff Zochodne | Oct 15, 2019 China and India, at 87 per cent, sported the highest rates of adoption and the United Kingdom clocked in at 71 per cent adoption Canadian consumers have greatly increased their use of financial technology, such as payment or budgeting apps, but trail their global counterparts in adoption across every age and income bracket, according to findings from accounting firm Ernst & Young. The new adoption index published by EY shows fintech use in Canada jumped to 50 per cent in 2019, up from 18 per cent in 2017, yet still below the 64 per cent global average for this year. “While fintech use may be on the rise and the number of fintech companies in Canada are on the rise, we continue to lag behind our global peers with one of the lowest adoption rates in the world,” said Ron Stokes, EY Canada’s fintech leader. Among the countries studied by EY, only the United States, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Japan had lower rates of fintech adoption than Canada. China and India, meanwhile, at 87 per cent, sported the highest rates of adoption. The United Kingdom clocked in at 71 per cent ...
Read More
EY fintech Canada adoption rates - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Forbes | Ron Shevlin | Oct 14, 2019 Partnerships are Not the Future of Fintech “Bank/fintech partnerships are crucial to the future of banking” has become a widely accepted meme in the industry. In a recent study from Finextra, 81% of bank executives surveyed said that collaborating with partners was the best strategy to achieve digital transformation. They’re going to be disappointed. The vast majority of banks are not well suited to partnerships: Larger institutions may have the resources to identify, vet, and enter into partnerships, but their size and organizational complexity makes operationalizing and scaling partnerships difficult. Smaller institutions typically don’t have the resources or skills needed to identify, vet, and enter into any meaningful number of relationships. Operationalizing partnerships often requires integration into core apps which can be a challenge for smaller institutions. Then there’s the issue of corporate culture which, in many banks, is not conducive to partnering with outside entities. The Competing Values Framework developed by Cameron and Quinn helps explain why–some cultures are more control-oriented than collaborative. Partnerships Are No Piece of Cake from the Fintech Perspective Brett King, founder of fintech Moven told me, “The biggest barrier to bank/fintech partnerships is banks’ procurement departments ...
Read More
business and tech - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Luge Capital and Flare Systems | Sonia Gasparini | Oct 17, 2019 Flare Systems Enables Financial Institutions to Protect Themselves from Financial Crimes Before They Happen Montréal, October 17, 2019 - Flare Systems has closed a $1 million seed round led by Luge Capital, with WhiteStar Capital participating in the round. The investment enables Flare Systems to expand its roll-out in Canada and the USA, and further develop a complementary suite of products to help financial institutions fight financial crime. A cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds and the frequency and sophistication of these attacks are increasing. Flare Systems automatically collects and structures millions of data points from the dark, deep and clear net to provide actionable intelligence in real time, enabling financial institutions to mitigate these attacks and prevent financial crimes. Flare Systems’ products take data from sources such as broadcasts of stolen information, private forum discussions, chat posts, and cryptocurrency transactions and combine it with world-class proven research in criminology to provide actionable insights to financial crime teams. With Flare Systems’ proprietary platform, financial institutions can efficiently monitor malicious actors and their activities across numerous threat landscapes and connect the chains of attack, from phishing to laundering funds ...
Read More
flare systems 1 - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Forbes | Richard Harroch and Melissa Guzy | Oct 12, 2019 Investment in financial technology (“Fintech”) companies is growing dramatically. Global Fintech funding has risen to over $100 billion, fueled by large M&A deals and large rounds of financing. Investment in Fintech companies is expected to continue to grow significantly in the next few years as such companies offer outsized growth opportunities. Fintech companies encompass a broad landscape of businesses, generally around financial-oriented services and products. Examples of Fintech-related companies or products include: Payment infrastructure, processing and issuance, such as services provided by Square, Ant Financial, Revolut, and Stripe Stock trading apps from Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, and Schwab Alternative lending marketplaces, such as Prosper, LendingClub, and OnDeck Cryptocurrencies and digital cash, a prime example of which is Bitcoin Blockchain technology, such as Ethereum Insurtech, which seeks to modernize and simplify the insurance industry, with companies such as Lemonade, Oscar, and Fabric Money transfer and remittances, including services from TransferWise, PayPal, and Venmo Mortgage lending, such as through LendingHome and Better Mortgage Robo investment advisors, such as Betterment and Wealthfront Neobanks, including Chime, N26, and Monzo Credit reporting, such as Credit Karma Online business loan providers such as Lendio and Kabbage Small business ...
Read More
Q1 fintech insights FTP - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Oct 15, 2019 Last week, Crowdfund Insider reported on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement action against Telegram and the issuance of Gram tokens. The move by the SEC is a doozy and telling. First, Telegram sold about $1.7 billion in a SAFT (simple agreement for future tokens) that appeared to abide by the rules. Telegram filed a Form D and apparently only sold to accredited investors in the US. As CI has heard, the token offering was wildly popular at the time of the offering. But the SEC’s “emergency action” was predicated on the expectation the Gram tokens would be available to the general public and thus akin to an initial public offering (IPO).  Once the Grams hid various and sundry crypto exchanges – anyone would be able to purchase them – not just the accredited investor types. In the US, an IPO requires registration with the SEC, a significant undertaking. See:  Your Complete Guide to Security Token Exchanges We have received several comments on the SEC’s move to target an issuer that is not US-based but sold to US investors, approximately 39 purchasers who committed in total $424.5 million, according to ...
Read More
Telegram and SEC - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Sky News | Robin Scarborough, Deloitte Digital | Oct 14, 2019 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 ...
Read More
open banking interview sky news 1 - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
National Post | Andy Blatchford | Oct 5, 2019 The letter was drafted by a lobby group representing signatories run domestic firms that employed more than 35,000 people last year and generated more than $6 billion for the economy OTTAWA — More than 110 Canadian tech CEOs have signed an open letter urging political parties to take action to strengthen the country’s innovative economy, and avoid falling further behind international peers. So far, major parties have put forward pledges in areas like affordability, first-time home-buyers and climate change, but the campaigns have offered few promises designed to drive economic growth in the digital age. “We’re writing because Canada’s productivity is lagging and our future economic prosperity is at risk,” reads the letter addressed to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Leader Elizabeth May. “You can help by developing economic policies that advance innovative Canadian companies, including increasing their access to skilled talent, growth capital and new customers.” The letter was drafted by the Council of Canadian Innovators, a lobby group representing some of the country’s fastest-growing companies. Combined, its signatories run domestic firms that employed more than 35,000 people last year and ...
Read More
liberal trudeau and innovation - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
CarefulCents  | Ryan Friend | Sep 17, 2019 Of all the types of insurance out there, health insurance is perhaps the most important. After all, without our health, it’s difficult to do much else in life. However, in the United States, which relies mostly on a private health insurance system, costs are high, and it’s often very confusing to know how much you can expect to pay. This is because you can get health insurance in many different ways. You can buy it on your own, receive it from your employer as part of your compensation package, or get it from the federal government. However, just because the world of health insurance is confusing, it does not mean you need to pay more than you should, and knowing the average costs of the many different types of health insurance can help you understand if your premiums are fair or if it’s time for a change. Below we’ve outlined all the different factors that determine the cost of your insurance and also identified the average rates for the various options out there. In addition, you will find some tips to help you save on your insurance so that you can get ...
Read More
health insurance - Fielding high-performing innovation teams
Coindesk | David Pan | Oct 9, 2019 Mutual fund giant Vanguard has partnered with Nasdaq Ventures-backed blockchain startup Symbiont to develop a trading platform for the $6 trillion currency market, the companies said. With the new platform, Vanguard, which manages $5.2 trillion, aims to lower transaction costs for the trillions of dollars worth of currencies it trades annually by boosting peer-to-peer trading for investors, connecting them directly via blockchain technology. Symbiont CEO Mark Smith told CoinDesk the company teamed up with Vanguard to build the currency platform, confirming a Bloomberg report that cited an anonymous source. The platform has been operational for two months and completed its first trades during the time, according to the report. A Vanguard spokesperson told CoinDesk: “Vanguard is currently piloting a project focused on improving the efficiency and reducing risk of FX hedging.” The new platform is part of the fund manager’s commitment to lowering the cost of investing for all investors, the spokesperson said. Neither company would provide further details of the pilot. See:  HSBC settles FX deals worth $250 billion on blockchain in last year Machine Learning in Finance – Present and Future Applications The project, if successful, would be another important milestone ...
Read More
Vanguard ForeX blockchain platform - Fielding high-performing innovation teams