How We Work: The Power of Passionate Champions

In this new series of posts, members of the Innovation Labs team explore new ways of working and the impact they could have on your organisation. First up is our Design Director Maurice McGinley on the power of passion.

We need to nurture a new idea to grow it into something we are proud of, like a child. Ideas can’t grow up on their own. That’s why every idea we work on at Innovation Labs must have a passionate champion.

Without a committed, passionate champion a project will fail, no matter how promising it may seem. When others don’t at first see the potential of a new idea, a passionate champion will push, pull, carry, and cajole the idea through. They’ll use design, presentations, industry validation, and sheer persistence – whatever works!

This raw human emotion is a key ingredient in any successful project. In this blog post I want to explain how we find these people and how help unlock their ideas.

Uncovering passionate people

First and foremost, we look for someone we believe in. It’s a great sign if someone on the team comes to you with an idea, rather than the other way around. It shows they care enough to put their credibility on the line to present this idea to you.

A lot of this comes down to hiring people you believe in. We’re focused on finding people with passion for technologies relevant to our business. We try to find people who are super smart, and experts in their field.

When an expert comes to you with a ground-breaking idea, there’s a fair chance you won’t understand what they are talking about. That’s a good sign. This is where trust comes in.

Fuelling the fire

It’s good to remember that the ability to sell ideas doesn’t correlate with having good ones. It’s rare that a person blessed with a great idea also has the gift of selling it.

So when a good person says they have a great idea, trust in them and give them the support to make the idea concrete as quickly as possible. Work with them to bring their idea to the stage where it can speak for itself, and be evaluated on its own terms.

Once you have the idea and a passionate champion, the next step is get the idea out of their heads and into reality. The design team can help a lot here. Good designers must be good listeners. Designers can  give form to abstract ideas. We listen, so others can see.

Evaluating an idea

When we have a relevant idea, backed by a credible, passionate, champion, then we run an  an AppLab. An AppLab is our version of a 5 day Design Sprint, starting with a user problem and ending with the  a validation of a solution with real users. I’ll explain how we do AppLabs further in future posts.

If the AppLab produces a sustainable business model and positive feedback from real potential users, then it’s right to invest further in the idea.

During an AppLab, the team  thinks the idea all the way through from the implementation to the business model to the user value. You need to connect the business value to a compelling reason why customers will love to trade their money for your product or service.

Passion in practice

Here at Innovation Labs we recently ran an Router project driven by the passion of the Product Owner, Amit Siwal. We started it off as our first experiment with crowdfunding — which we actually learned wasn’t a match for this project.

Chime routers

But that didn’t deter Amit, who has real belief and commitment to the idea. Through engaging with the different parties and stakeholders involved in putting the crowdfunding proposal together, he gained knowledge and contacts that, thanks to his perseverance and passion, have taken the idea in a new — and we think much better — direction. Routers are an important platform for securing the Internet of Things, and a logical way for us to bring our services to market.

Harnessing the power of passion

The post above should give you an idea of how vital the raw passion of an individual is to the process of designing and developing technology products at AVG Innovation Labs. But it shouldn’t be something that’s unique to us.

Every organisation should  start paying attention to the small shoots of ideas from their team and learn how to nurture them. From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow. But only if there’s somebody helping them along the way.

 

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