Most ideas won’t make it through the hurdles of an organization without a tenacious advocate. But perseverance alone won’t drive it. True innovation champions are unconventional thinkers who believe that anything is possible if you put your creative mind to it.

Innovators see the potential that others don’t. They realize the value and they’re willing to overcome whatever obstacles get in the way.

Leaders often tell us they’ve got plenty of ideas, but not enough people who will push them through the system. The easiest way to spot an innovator in a work session is to ask if someone would like to take charge of building an idea. If no hands go up, it’s not a good idea to force it and assign it to someone. When people don’t have passion for something, it becomes just another to-do for them. 

Innovators advocate all the time

When I think of passionate champions, it reminds me of a man who volunteered to serve on an environmental team for a manufacturing client in South Africa. The team’s role was to discover ways to make the company more environmentally sustainable.

To this day, he continues to be passionate about this area. He is an advocate for heightening awareness of where the company is wasting money. He attends conferences to see where grants are available and he’s taking courses to become certified.

Often people become champions because they see it as a way to enhance their career. Or it may be something of value to them personally such as improving the environment for their grandchildren. A passionate person can see the value of the idea enough to want to take action and champion it through an organization.

Passion and commitment set idea generators apart from real innovation champions. Understanding the difference can result in more successful innovations that lead to true enterprise transformation.

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