One of the questions from the audience at the Intrapreneur Conference last week was “how important is senior management support” [for an innovation initiative]?
All three of the panel said, “very”. Of course they’re not wrong. How can that be wrong? But equally that ‘can’t be wrong’ about every initiative a business runs. And that’s the problem. The CEO can endorse every initiative, but they can’t support all of them.
The reason why NOT having senior manager support might be preferable is that, with innovation, it can look like it isn’t working for a very long time and if you have a leader that backs things that work and backs away from the things that don’t look like they are working, you’re arguably better off doing it under the radar.
Which oddly, was the answer to one of the next questions – “how do you get started”? Despite the panel saying that senior level sponsorship was all important, they also said “just getting going under the radar”.