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Thursday, October 14, 2004
Who is an Innovation Consultant?
Since I am one - and am busying myself in being an *expert* Innovation Consultant - I'd better know the answer to this one! But fact is I do not - well definitely not as a definition at least. I couldn't put it down in one sentence just yet...
Well one could say "someone who helps an organization be more innovative", but isn't that too vague? Afterall, in any good organization, a majority of the employees/management try to promote innovation right? I said *good* organizations...(now I am not going to get into the definition of a good organization, I'm trying to define an Innovation Consultant...good organization some other day).

So do I go about defining Innovation Consultant like I usually try and define everything else? Pull it apart and then build - analysis and synthesis? Like first define *innovation* and then define *consultant* and then put them together... it would work actually...

An Innovation Consultant would be a professional who:

1. helps an organization to determine whether it needs innovation
2. helps an organization to determine that if it does need innovation, is it *ready* for it
3. if the organization is not ready for it, then the innovation consultant helps the organization to get ready for innovation by conducting workshops, awareness councils, etc to increase awareness about innovation/change management
4. when the organization is ready for innovation, the innovation consultant creates buy-in from employees and the whole of management for the changes required by apprising them of the benefits/obstacles and planning for the same
5. when buy-in has been achieved and the whole organization is prepared for the next step, the innovation consultant devises programs/workshops to increase the innovative spirit within the organization - this is not just one step, it would, for example, involve devising an idea management system and implementing it, providing tools for increasing innovativeness within the organization, provide training for these tools and systems, etc.
6. once the training/implementation has been done, the innovation consultant works with the organization for an interim period to actually use those tools/systems and approaches in daily work life
7. after the interim period, the innovation consultant leaves the client organization - but not completely - the innovation consultant needs to keep checking back - at the behest of the client - whether the implmentation is yielding the results as hoped
8. if not, the innovation consultant is called back to determine obstacles and either improve the current system or implement a new one depending on the audit results (audit of the past implementation and working process)

I guess that's it. It's not a never-ending process, but every organization - or for that matter any human being - takes time to adapt to changes. The Innovation consultant is not only a catalyst, but also the implementer, the visualizer, the change manager, the interface between management and employees, a *business person* as he/she needs to be aware of the impact of the tools/systems, a forecaster since the innovative ideas and suggestions need to bear fruit, a mentor and some more.

Maybe there is no definition! What do you think?
posted by Naina @ Permalink 10/14/2004 09:18:00 PM   3 comments  --- Google It! ---
At 10/15/2004 02:34:00 AM, Blogger American Blogger said...
At 10/15/2004 02:53:00 PM, Blogger Gautam Ghosh said...
At 10/15/2004 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Naina said...

Once i went to a web seminar and Microsoft had some people from their research division there speaking. The title they had was 'Technology Evangelist' and i thought that was a really cool title.

How does one become an innovation consultant anyway? Sounds like something up my alley :)

When I was an Innovation Consultant (am just an 'innovator' now :-) we defined ourselves as people who helped organizations be more open to ideas, people who provided tools and techniques to help generate ideas and people who helped groups collaborate 'generatively' and think 'quantum' rather than 'incremental'


Neat way to put it Gautam... On "think quantum rather than incremental", one of the types of innovation is incremental innovation, but since the quantum leaps *seem* to generate more revenue, the increments are not pursued actively. Implementing quantum leaps would also be a tougher job...increments sound easier. So would that mean that an Innovation Consultant who does quantum leap implementations more often is a better consultant? Just trying to clear up my own thoughts!
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