The Effective Characteristics of Champions

Posted by Beth Perkins on Dec 16, 2010 9:16:35 AM

Elly Madrigal, Program Operations Manager, tells us what makes an InnoCentive Champion successful.


championOver the years, InnoCentive has helped implement open innovation programs within a variety of organizations, and we’ve learned that there are certain traits that make some programs very successful. The leading factor is “The Champion,” InnoCentive’s single point of contact within our Seeker organizations. He or she is the Seeker’s lead Program Manager responsible for managing the organization’s Open Innovation program.

The InnoCentive Client Services team has been building a correlation between “good Champions” and “successful Open Innovation programs,” confirming our beliefs that you need a recognized, informed leader to successfully implement Challenge-Driven innovation… just can’t throw software at the problem!

Below you will find some of characteristics that we’ve used to describe the roles & responsibilities of the Program Champion, and what attributes are required to be effective in this position.

Program Champions:

- Lead the InnoCentive program execution, and are accountable for program goal delivery.  They actively manage, make operational decisions, communicate, solve problem, and remove obstacles affecting the program.

- Recruit and develop a network of Innovation Coaches.  (Effective Coaches are critical to the sustained scalability and success of the program.)

- Review and prioritize prospective Challenges for relevance, importance and quality, monitor award consistency, and drive regular program communication.

- Coordinate the Seeker organization’s relationship with InnoCentive, participate in regular meetings with InnoCentive Client Services, and draw on InnoCentive’s experience, training, and Challenge support.

- Best Practice: Goal setting, cross-functional leadership, collaborative decision-making, and process coordination are key skills required for this position.  Successful Champions will usually dedicate 50% or more of their time to the program, and will view the program as an important opportunity to create impact and advance their career.

What Makes a Champion Effective?

- Strong Interpersonal Skills, Respected, Approachable, Energetic
- Solid Commitment to Company’s Open Innovation Goals
- Large, Active Informal Network within Organization
- The Best Technical Innovators Can Make the Best Meta-Innovators
- Appropriately Incented
- Time Available to Devote
- Technical Capability is of Secondary Importance

In reading these, we’d like you to confirm or counter our thoughts by posting comments to this article.   If there’s something we’ve missed, please let us know.

Topics: Seekers

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