Food for Thought

The annual Front End of Innovation Conference is kicking off next week in Boston, and looking at the agenda, we’re reminded of how organizations of different shapes and sizes all fuel their innovation programs the same way—by broadening perspectives and pushing employees to connect the dots.

In working with innovators of many shapes and sizes over the years, we’ve learned that while not everyone is the “conference type,” there is always value in planting the seeds of new ideas by presenting your team with diverse perspectives and new information. Yes, innovation conferences are a wonderful, intensive forum for gleaning insights from other innovators and kick-starting inspiration. But these same goals can be accomplished on a smaller scale on a regular basis at your organization.

Some organizations invite speakers in to speak to their teams on a quarterly basis. Others have set up innovation advisory boards with innovators at other organizations, allowing them to network and learn from experts in other fields. Still others have established book clubs and article exchanges that allow employees to share new information, thoughts, and ideas through unstructured discussion. These are just a few examples of how you can fuel your innovation program’s front end.

Creating opportunities for your team to break from routine, remix and discuss ideas, and simply daydream about future is critical if you seek big, game-changing ideas for the future. How does your team fuel its front end of innovation?


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