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Selling Innovation to the CxO

I just come across a very interesting article, Selling Innovation by Blast Radius.  I would like to share its insights with my fellow readers.  In business world, every one knows the importance of innovation.  Be innovate or get leave behind.  If you are working in the startup, it is easy to try something new.  It is what a start up is for after all.  But if you are working in a big company, the corporate culture, tradition are usually on the way of innovation.  The key to run an innovation project in a mature company is get the blessing of the CxO.  This article gives 8 useful tips how to get CxO on your side.

There are two types of innovations, incremental and disruptive.  Incremental innovation is merely product improvement, even big company that on regular basis, so it is already part of the system.  Disruptive innovation is a high risk, high reward venture.  The key to run a successful disruptive innovation project to have the buy-in of the CxO and keep him interest through out the project.  The key is to think like the CxO, address their concerns so that you can gain their trust and build up your credibility.   Here are the 8 tips:

1. Be passionate but balance.  Don’t down play the risk factor.  If you don’t disclose enough risk to satisfy the CxO, he will invent some for you.
2. Measure creativity.  Number is your best friend, it shows your achievement.  If you don’t have a number ready in hand, don’t be afraid to invent some useful indicators.
3. Change course willing.  If something is not going well, you better have a fix before others tell you how to fix the problem.
4. Giver direct answers, even when the answer is “I don’t know”.  People smells dodge answers, it hurts your credibility more than a plain “I don’t know.”
5. Ask for regular review.  CxO hates surprises.  They will kill your project if they don’t know what you are actually doing.
6. Don’t take all the credit.  It is NOT your project.
7. Defend without being defensive.  CxO is not cheerleader.   It is his job to challenge you, don’t take it personal.
8. Did I say be passionate but balance?

This article is quite enlightening, highly recommanded.

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