Continuing the Innovation Discussion with High-Performance Teams

image: team workIn an earlier post today, The Role of R&D in Sustainable Development, our sustainability consulting practice explored the frameworks of organically grown innovation.  Focusing on the characteristics of today’s leading organizations, we now expand upon this conversation to examine implementation.  How does an organization consolidate knowledge into high-performance innovation teams?

Taking the playbook from product development, our sustainability consulting leverages insights from a recent Mashable Business post, 10 Proven Strategies of High-Performance Teams.  From this text, we find an interesting perspective on information gathering as the author ponders:

“Who drives product innovation? The answer is small, entrepreneurial development teams — better known as “agile teams” in the high-tech industry.”

“What are the essential elements — the genetic structure, if you will — of a high-performance team?”

Reviewing this research, our sustainability consulting firm finds many similarities to our own business sustainability team building studies.  Taken from our own research, the following suggestions can get your own sustainability teams going:
  • Start by finding interested individuals, encourage co-workers from different levels and parts of your organization, and meet with management to get approval and buy-in for the idea.
  • The best way for your green team to blossom it is to pick an initial project that everyone can get behind. Pick the lowest hanging fruit. The easiest thing to start with is to establish a recycling program or tangible projects that are easiest to benchmark success.
  • Remember to set goals and strategies—identify your purpose, whether your goal is to cut costs or to be environmentally responsible, or both.   Create a timeline of how you would like to progress as well as set up future benchmarking activities to ensure that it is being implemented as planned.
  • Celebrate success!  Communicate your success to internal and external stakeholders. Ride the momentum of your achievement and look for other pilot projects to expand eco awareness.  Training and educating others is a great way to keep others informed as well as invite them to participate in future sustainable business activities.

Implementing sustainable change can be unsettling, can force us outside of our comfort levels, or it can be outright scary. Our sustainability consulting encourages clients to be aware of the knowledge and talents of their own internal resources.  A great way to ensure alignment is to facilitate the formation of high-performance teams. 

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