innovation lab

Use an Innovation SWAT Team

A leader cannot carry the torch for innovation alone and neither is innovation is ever a single box on an org chart – it should emerge across all levels and areas in an organization. But neither can innovation penetrate deep into an organization without some level of dedicated staff resources: 1) a central day-to-day team who can carry out other key strategies like communication, recognition, training, and measurement and 2) a handpicked group of mid-level or senior ‘champions’ who are early adopters with trusted status and a high level of energy.

  • ITD’s Innovation Stewards - ITD established its ‘innovation stewards’ initiative in October 2015 to help spread innovation throughout the Department.  Innovation stewards are often front line staff who have the trust and respect of their peers and also share a passion for being ‘early adopters.’ In addition to doing their ‘day job,’ innovation stewards help other staff develop, submit and implement innovation ideas.
  •  Kiewit’s Innovation Program Steering Committee - The Innovation Program Steering Committee guides the Innovation Program and sponsors innovation challenges posed to employees.  The Steering Committee is made up of a handful of leaders, both in technology and outside technology.  The Steering Committee is active in sponsoring innovations. The innovation sponsor plays an important role in funding innovations and removing barriers to implementation.  The Innovation Team provides training to staff and has written much of the training material in-house.


Teams as innovative systems: The authors argue that creating teams can establish a collective perception that collaborative, innovated-related activities are expected, valued and supported.

Team-level predictors of innovation at work:  By linking feedback and personal incentives to the accomplishment of a group (rather than the individual), an organization can help establish a cooperative, collaborative environment that is open to innovation.