Innovation Challenge #1: Enlisting Specialists

To innovate, an organization must work above and beyond its usual processes and ideas to evolve. Bringing in a specialist (or a team of specialists) is a viable solution for many companies that need a unique and targeted perspective than its team may not possess.

Including a specialist on an established team could potentially cause a disturbance to the team’s rhythm and rapport with one another, so special care must be taken to make sure he or she is merging effectively.

  1. Be clear about the role the specialist will play on your team.

Before one is brought into the fold, an organization should have already mapped out the ideal skillset of its specialist, an idea of the amount of work involved in reaching its goal, and a reasonable deadline for the special project. By planning ahead, the team can make the best of its time with the specialist and work productively with milestones in place.

  1. Reinforce roles and responsibilities.

The specialist will make a huge impact on the team, but he or she can’t carry the load alone. Specialists should be used to enhance teams by filling in skill gaps and offering a fresh perspective based on their knowledge and experience to help the team innovate in ways they may not have considered before. Team members must work together as they did before the specialist was introduced – collaborating, communicating, and relying on each other to get the job done.

  1. Sharing is caring.

A specialist is often called in for a special project or assessment and will eventually leave the team once a project has reached completion. This can put a team in a sticky situation if the specialist is not accessible for future efforts. But ideally, specialists should be able to impart enough knowledge to help the team survive on their own.

Reviewing work done by the specialist during a project can help team members develop a deeper understanding of the specialist’s work and how it has impacted the journey. Specialists have also been known to host training sessions for organizations that need less of a hands-on approach and more information via a classroom setting.

Innovation can come easy to team members who are paired with the right specialist for their needs. Whether your organization needs an intensive training session or onsite assistance for a longer term project, the inclusion of a specialist can develop your team into a well-rounded, productive innovation machine!