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?