9 Keys To Innovation

Shaygan Kheradpir's formula for developing new ideas and making them happen.

  1. Define a compelling goal :: People's attention and energy follow their passions. Your staff needs to feel that they're working to make something better, not just to earn a paycheck.
  2. Empower people to pursue that goal :: Give people autonomy and responsibility, as well as the resources they need.
  3. Measure progress :: Kheradpir's group, for example, develops detailed scorecards with business clients at the beginning of the year. They're posted on the IT intranet, and the results are reviewed quarterly. Each employee needs to commit to which of the scorecard's metrics they're working to improve.
  4. Encourage nonlinear thinking :: Put staffers "two in a box," as Kheradpir calls it, by asking two people with different skills from different groups to work together to attack a problem.
  5. But execute in a linear way :: Advance new ideas by asking for prototypes to be developed in 30-day cycles. As big projects hit the homestretch, hold daily status meetings and set goals for the next 24 hours.
  6. Think flat :: Business can move more quickly without bureaucratic layers. Having all the major players on a project working together in a war room improves communication and coordination in the final stages of a project.
  7. Be hands on :: Cultivate relationships with employees on the front lines so that you can understand their issues and get direct feedback on how systems are working.
  8. Hire top talent annually :: Most of what you learned in school is already outdated. Bring in new talent from top schools each year.
  9. Remove barriers :: Encourage staff to identify red tape, then cut through it for them. That's your job.
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Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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