Selling your innovative ideas

N°287b – Synopsis (8p.) – Persuasion
Selling your innovative ideas
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Any innovative project owner faces a paradox: the novelty nature of his/her idea is precisely what gives it value; yet, it is also what generates reluctance. How can you release these brakes to get your innovative ideas across better?

The vast majority of business organizations underline today how innovation is indispensable to their success, or even to their survival. Whether launching new offerings, imagining new business models, or improving processes in an incremental or radical manner, the watchword to the staff is the same: “Take the initiative, propose ideas, think outside the box!” And the context seems favorable, since this meets staff expectations. Indeed, surveys show that they want to be better heard, more involved in decision-making and able to take initiatives.

However, a poll recently conducted by McKinsey reveals that a staggering 94% of managers declare being dissatisfied with the innovation capacity of their company. How to explain this paradox, when we see the bloom of mechanisms destined to develop all staff members into solution providers: suggestion boxes and other systems to gather the collective feedback, more participative management, time set aside to work on innovative projects, in-house incubators, etc.?

In truth, businesses are not short of ideas. Yet, to generate value, these ideas must translate into concrete actions. And, to achieve this, the staff must also learn how to efficiently “sell” them to the decision makers, to their peers, to their manager, to the rest of the company. This is the essential requirement for obtaining the necessary support and resources for their materialization. But, getting others to support your innovative ideas is not easy. Robin Chase, the founder of Zipcar, a pioneer firm in car sharing, came to realize this. She was convinced of the power of her concept. She had sufficiently studied it to be able to clearly articulate its benefits. However, while she expected to generate enthusiasm, she first met objections and skepticism! On a smaller scale, who has never seen his/her motivation drop when faced with an indifferent or lukewarm reception to his/her suggestion for improvement, though promising in itself?

De facto, the quality of the idea is not a sufficient factor by itself to win support. The credibility of the person who carries the project and his/her capacity to influence often appear significantly more determining.

In this synopsis:
– Introducing a radically new idea
– Developing credibility as a bearer of innovation
– Five levers of influence to better rally around your ideas

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