Innovation, Skills, Innovation Team, Hiring, Assessment

Encourage Innovation

Here is an important truth: Innovation is a long journey, it is not just about having a brilliant idea. For this reason, organizations should not wait for innovation to happen, but structure a dedicated process. What can companies do to build a productive and sustainable journey to Innovation? Create a dedicated team is certainly an option.

Having a team though is not enough. It is essential to select the people who are part of this working group.

How to select the Innovation Team?
Read below some of the most important skills that you can evaluate both during a hiring process or an internal assessment:
  • Include people who have different backgrounds and professional experiences, maybe some that come from different industries so to have several perspectives. In this context, also storytelling becomes important: being able to share one’s experience or idea is not to be given for granted.
  • Team members should also be open-minded, curious, eager to learn and improve, be aligned with the company’s purpose, mission and vision, and be able to collaborate with their colleagues.
  • Team members should be able to practice inclusiveness: when brainstorming and considering different options and point of views, it’s important to consider everything that’s being brought up to the table leaving prompt judgement behind. Every idea or story is a little spark of innovation.


Which other skills can bring additional value?
  • Another skill to evaluate when creating the team is relationship building. To innovate, it’s important that the working group members create connections both internally and externally. The interaction with others is always valuable, especially in this role as it brings information, new ideas to consider, and creates bridges where sometimes it seems impossible. If your company is international, try to connect your innovation team to those of other foreigner headquarters to open up new horizons and opportunities.
  • Creative thinking is a great asset. Thinking out of the box to find solutions is a successful key, as well as being able to observe. The combination of observation and creating thinking is a powerful mix that in the long term will bring positive results.
  • Last but not least: deal with uncertainty. Innovation is an experiment. Innovating often means to bring something new or already experimented in a new context. The response cannot be easily predicted. Team members will have to deal with such uncertainty and overcome it balancing risks and innovation.


Behavioural profiling and identifying traits which can signpost individual innovative ability such as curiosity and proactivity, can be advantageous in both the selection of new employees (where relevant) and/ or in the assessment of a whole management team, to evaluate whether the important trait of innovation is found in the group overall.


Other suggestions to support the Innovation team?
  • Give the team the time and space to connect, share their experience, reflect and focus on their objective. Give them the time to get to know each other and the context in which they are operating.
  • Provide reflective checkpoints and follow ups. Monitor the work of the team. Which progress are they making? What do they need to reach their goal? What is not working and how can the rest of the organization help?


Does your organization have an Innovation Team? How did you select its members? How do they work? Progress and evolution are necessary, it’s better to be ready to tackle them and to embark now on the long journey to efficient Innovation.

Gaia Urati