January 12, 2012
If You Are Planning to Ask an Innovation Consultant for Help


If someone from your company's leadership team asks you to locate an outside consultant to help your organization establish a culture of innovation, STOP for a moment and, with all due respect, ask that person to answer the following questions.

If they answer "NO" to any of them, do not accept the assignment.

Really. I mean it. If you're afraid to decline the assignment, there's no hope for you, your senior team, or your organization. Zero.

If you say YES without understanding the current reality of the senior team, you will only be going on a wild goose chase -- wasting your time, theirs, and the TBD consulting company's who will be asked to generate a hefty proposal that none of your senior leaders will be ready, willing, or able to respond to.



1. Do you have a clear, compelling vision of our organization's future? If not, are you willing to create one?

2. Are you personally committed to fostering a culture of innovation? Are other senior leaders on the same page with you? If not, are they willing to make the effort to do so?

3. Are senior leaders willing to walk the talk -- modeling the kind of innovation-friendly behaviors they want to see others manifesting on the job?

4. Are you willing to challenge the status quo?

5. Are you open to receiving new ideas from the workforce -- and are you willing to establish a process that will make it easy for them to do so?

6. Are you willing to listen more deeply to what the workforce is thinking and feeling?

7. Are you committed to establishing and supporting an Innovation Council that will drive the process to raise the bar for innovation?

8. Are you willing to invest in a long-term approach, rather than treating the effort as a flavor-of-the-year initiative?

9. Are you willing to go beyond "command and control", empower people, and push decision making further down the food chain?

10. Are you open to guidance and coaching from an outside company who can support you all of the above?

What other questions would you add to the list?

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at January 12, 2012 10:43 PM


Great questions and a few that I might add include:

11. Are you sure that you've exhausted internal sources of expertise?

12. Do you have a clear understanding of what innovation means?

And not a yes/no question but:

13. What will the organization be able to do after this process that they are not capable of doing now.

Posted by: Jerrold McGrath [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 19, 2012 12:37 AM

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