Innovation doesn't just happen. It's the product of a process of exploring the unknown, distilling insight, and creating something new that serves a need.
There are people that have the ability to create on their own by following a process that is hardwired into their brain. It's a way of testing and contrasting various options until one arrives at a workable solution. Others require a person to serve as a guide and this usually involves using a framework to help guide the process, such as Agile, Scrum, or Design Thinking. When people can see where they are going and how they fit into the big picture, they will have a better sense of how their thoughts can be integrated into the overall effort.
The framework you employ to stimulate creativity can and should be used as a communication tool to show how you got from one point to another. With the advent of the innovation industry and with more people being appointed to positions such as Chief Design Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, or Director of Innovation for a company or government entity, it will be imperative for these people to document their work at every step of the way.
- Calming the naysayers - Some people don't put value in creative work or out of the box thinking.
- Telling your story - It will help you tell your story and communicate your impact. You should be able to trace the origin of an idea and how it developed over time into a new product, policy, or service.
- Show your impact - When it comes time for budget cuts or an audit of your department, you will be in a better position to show how you arrived at specific, actionable solutions. Even more useful would be to demonstrate the financial impact of your work.
The documentation process should be on-going and involves more than saving emails. Success as an innovation officer involves bringing people along with you. Yes, there is an amount of salesmanship here, but the more that you can make people a part of your process, the better position you will be in to implement your initiatives down the road.