Three Mistakes When Pitching Your Innovative Idea
the pandemic has created many challenges for companies
across the industry, it has also opened the door for innovation.
From a rapid shift to WFH to transitioning to a virtual
hiring and onboarding process, HR continues to rise to
the timing is ripe to be a creative thinker, it’s
best to do some legwork before you share your idea. Through
our work with intrapreneurs across the cable industry,
we’ve identified three common mistakes that often
lead to the demise of an innovative idea. The good
news is that we’ve also identified how to avoid
these pitfalls and gain buy-in from the decision makers.
Fall in Love with Your Idea
spent a lot of time brainstorming and believe you’ve
identified a great solution to a problem within your company.
You couldn’t wait to share it, but when you did,
it fell on deaf ears. What in the world went wrong?
in Love with the Problem
an idea to gain traction with decision makers, it must
fulfill two roles. First, it needs to solve a problem
for customers (internal or external). Second, the idea
must align with the company’s strategic priorities.
good way to avoid falling in love with an idea is to dive
deep into the problem. We teach participants in the Cable
Center’s Intrapreneurship Academy to start by identifying
a challenge that fits with the organization’s goals,
then interview customers and stakeholders to refine their
understanding of the problem. Often, they realize that
the real problem is far different than the one
they originally identified.
you’ve identified an idea and verified that it aligns
with the company’s goals, one of the worst things
that you can do is rush to share your idea before you
can prove that it has value.
organizations face resource constraints. As a result,
HR professionals know that money and talent invested in
one project means that there is less money and fewer people
to dedicate to another initiative. Faced with this real-world
trade-off, your idea must be more than a great solution
to a real problem. It needs to have a believable path
to value creation (e.g. more revenue or profit, lower
costs, save time).
the Intrapreneurship Academy, participants develop Reverse
Financials in which they start with a revenue, profit,
or cost savings goal and work backwards to identify all
the things needed to achieve that goal. If these assumptions
are believable, then you can proceed with confidence that
your idea will deliver a solid ROI.
the Solution as a Whole
tend to rely heavily on test markets to assess the viability
and feasibility of new solutions. For example, they test
a new product in a single city or region or roll out a
new process or IT system at a single site. While this
minimizes the risk of expensive negative consequences,
companies are limited to learning only whether the initiative
worked or not and are unable to isolate the root cause
of unexpected or negative results.
the Deal Killers
develop hypotheses and run experiments to prove or disprove
them. They start small, running experiments in the safety
of a lab. Then, only once certain risks have been eliminated,
expand to bigger test environments, like human trials.
resources professionals can apply the same scientific
approach to innovation by running business experiments.
Once you’ve developed a solution and supporting
value model, brainstorm all the assumptions (hypotheses)
you’ve made, assessing each based on the confidence
that they're correct and the negative impact on the business
if they're wrong. Assumptions with low confidence
and high negative impact, deemed "Deal Killers," are tested
individually over the course of 90 days. This way, variables
are isolated and can be addressed.
Time to Invest in Innovation Is Now
the economic downturn in 2008, The Boston Consulting Group
determined that the 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2007
that continued to invest in innovation delivered Total
Shareholder Returns 4% higher per year (2007 – 2012)
than the overall market1.
This list of companies also delivered four times the return
(as measured by percentage of sales) than their peers2.
you’d like to invest in the power of innovation,
the Cable Center’s Intrapreneurship Academy is a
highly targeted, practical program that equips participants
with the knowledge, skills and proven practices needed
tenets shared in this article are just a few examples
of the insight that participants gain during the intrapreneurship
program. To learn more, please visit www.intrapreneurshipacademy.org.
Intrapreneurship Academy classes developed by The Cable
Center are held throughout the year. For more information
and to register, visit www.intrapreneurshipacademy.org.
The Cable Center is an educational nonprofit organization
serving the broadband, media and telecommunications industry.
With the Cable Center’s focus on intrapreneurship,
their mission is to connect people and ideas to advance
innovation. Visit www.cablecenter.org
for more information.