How to Create and Run an Innovation Pilot Program

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How to Create and Run an Innovation Pilot Program

Individuals and organizations need to learn at a rate faster than the rate of change. And innovation pilot programs help you do that. 

But how do you get your team and company on board with it?

How to Run an Innovative Pilot Program

1. Get it approved. 

You’re going to need a budget so your managers are naturally going to want to understand more about what it is that you’re spending money on. 

2. Tell them what has changed in the marketplace and that you need to address it. 

The best time to strike the idea of running a pilot program is where there’s a lot of uncertainty in the organization. Changes can be internal or external. 

  • External change – ex. a new trend or some new competitive move
  • Internal change – ex. a product recall, organizational policy change, or some other big announcement that is going to affect how the market sees you and how your internal employees see you. 

3. Create the “burning platform.”

Identify what’s creating a sense of urgency. It’s important that you call out this sense of urgency that’s why you need to do something. 

4. Offer the idea of a test pilot program.

See if it helps address this thing that’s changed in the marketplace. 

5. Get support from your colleagues and peers.

Syndicate with other departments so they get a little piece of the action too. Get your buy-in from colleagues. Share in the limelight, and share the downside or risk as well. 

Once you’ve gotten approval for your pilot program:

1. What are you actually testing in the innovation space?

Whether it’s testing a method, regulatory approval process, or a new product enhancement process, identify your metrics. How is the test being measured? What will be the determinant of success or failure? (ex. number of ideas generated or quality of ideas generated). Have a very specific and narrow, well-defined test phrase or test statement. 

2. Who’s going to be involved? 

Create a diverse and cross-functional team for your innovation workshop. Make sure you involve others from other parts of the organization so they can share the results with their team firsthand.

What to do once the program is done: 

Have a factual report of everything that happened, especially the results. It can be in the form of data, table set, or visual outcomes.

To hear more about how to run an innovative pilot program in your company, listen to the full podcast episode here: Episode 009: How to Create and Run an Innovation Pilot Program.