How Do We Enroll Others?

You’ll have to enroll others outside your team every step of the way. This is very different than selling. You’ll want to connect the innovation with others’ interests so they can share the benefits of doing things differently. Or else your innovation is at risk of getting marginalized.

Small groups of people who are designated to work on special projects often, in the process of their work, go through a unique and transforming experience that moves them to a different place from the rest of the organization. Innovations are tripped up, perhaps more than in any other way, by the failure of the team to recognize this issue and act on it.

We recommend that you spend a lot of time in the implementation phase dealing with skeptical, even hostile, colleagues for whom the innovation is basically a problem: someone else’s idea that is not only “more work” but “work we don’t know  how to do,” which is even more challenging. Real champions of innovation recognize these views as valid and systemic—not just curmudgeonly or misinformed individuals.

Case Study: How COCA St. Louis used a creative approach to anticipate concerns and champion its new project

In this case study, Melissa Dibble, Managing Director of EmcArts, describes the efforts of an innovation team at COCA  (Center for Creative Arts in St. Louis) to enroll others in their new project, which used the art the teach and train members of the corporate community in areas of leadership and creativity.

“Kathy Cramer, COCA’s board VP of strategic planning and founder/managing director of The Cramer Institute, used a technique from her private practice. “The Hero’s Journey – An Organizational Odyssey on Change” was presented as a mini-theatre piece with a rotating cast of COCA characters.  The piece depicted the project’s history, the Lab process, the COCA Biz program model, marketing and communications plans, and the timeline and plan for prototyping – and involved various staff, artists and committee members in the telling of the COCA Biz Creation Story.

By conceiving of the Innovation Lab as a journey, and using storytelling to depict the tensions and joys of the process, those that had not been part of the Lab process to date got up to speed and felt part of the sense-making journey.  Also, by putting the information and decisions into an artistic format, a sense of shared experience was created for all who attended this update meeting.” – Excerpt from “How COCA St. Louis used a creative approach to anticipate concerns and champion its new project”

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Karina Mangu-Ward is the former Director of Strategic Initiatives at EmcArts.