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Cross-Functional Innovation

What does Innovation mean to a successful organization?

Innovation: How do you describe such a sizeable subjective topic? Is there a common element between sales, marketing, engineering, product development, supply chain, information technology, and customer service that drives innovation?

When you look up the meaning of INNOVATION in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you will find the following descriptions:

  1. the introduction of something new
  2. a new idea, method, or device

BOOM Designs recently had the great opportunity to work on a video project for a client in which we asked team members what innovation means to them. We asked all levels of the organization and made sure to select at least one player in the cross-functional team to describe innovation and how an organization uses innovation. We were enlightened by what we discovered in the responses, and by how defining innovation challenged us at BOOM Designs.

What we found from the project:

We quickly realized that organizations have what we like to term as Cross-Functional Innovation. Each team in the organization had a unique way of defining what innovation meant to them, and each response was unique to the organization. Top leaders looked at innovation as being Purposeful Innovation. Developing solutions that mean something to their consumers, employees, and organization. They also took a look at the term from the organization’s cultural perspective and termed the phrase Passionate Innovation.

As a leader, you can encourage people to reach out and try something new because you never know when innovation is going to happen or resonate. Generally, the top leaders promote the ability to innovate and create the passion behind innovation. Other players within the organization described innovation as being successful in the marketplace, coming up with something no one expected (breakthrough), solving a problem, building off past successes and your brand, bringing an idea to practical reality, etc.

Innovation can come in many forms just like art can come in many forms. For example, if you ask a street artist if Graffiti is art, most likely the response is absolutely! Now, ask the city worker who is painting over the Graffiti or the owner whose building continuously gets tagged if Graffiti is art and the response will most likely be, “No.”

Like this example, we found that a similar comparison can happen with innovation. Supply Chain may come up with an innovative approach to sourcing parts overseas, but when sales, who is trying to get a product in a retailer who only wants local manufacturing, sees this solution, the innovative solution is disregarded as it does not help drive success for the customer.

The solution is innovative to one team or multiple teams and can reduce cost which is great for business, but if sales cannot sell the product because the customer only wants locally manufactured products, the innovation is now void and could be argued as not being innovative.

Innovation means something different to each of us because we think of innovation from our own backgrounds and experiences just like we each interpret art in our own unique way.Click To Tweet

Innovation means something different to each of us because we think of innovation from our own backgrounds and experiences just like we each interpret art in our own unique way. To completely define innovation is virtually impossible.We can, however, identify one common element and that is innovation blows people’s minds!

How does BOOM Designs describe innovation:

Innovation at BOOM Designs is the combination of ‘Cross Functional Innovation’ that enables a customer to grow bigger, better, faster. When you blend and challenge creative team members with different experiences, skills, and expertise levels to solve a problem together around a need or insight, INNOVATION IS BORN. We all bring something special to the table and yes, sometimes innovation can happen with a single person, but true innovation happens when a cross-functional team works together to solve a clearly defined problem. Bringing everyone’s individual ideas and solutions together leads to bright ideas and unexpected solutions that not only WOW a customer, but can move a business to the next level. Innovation to BOOM is combining all the good ideas into a brilliant team solution.

We challenge you. What does innovation mean to you?

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