I view it as one of my most successful assignments and yet at the beginning it didn’t feel like that! I was relatively young and inexperienced in the area of innovation management
I had just finished my first General Manager assignment abroad
The UK CEO wanted to expand the business. He asked me to set up a Business Development Centre to identify and nurture new growth options. He gave me a budget and a building to convert into an office
I spent the first weeks working with the builders on how the office layout should look and why. This gave me my first opportunity to think about how we should work and which of my own values should drive my assignment
Then the breakthrough, although I didn’t realise fully at the time its importance, I found a mentor!
She helped me sort out my own thoughts about how the organisation needed to fit with the work we were doing. She encouraged me to design a very different organisational approach because the work demanded it
We researched innovation in books and articles – no Google back then!
Together we identified people in outside organisations who were doing similar work that she could introduce to me and who helped me learn different approaches to organisation and innovation and cultures required to support them
I recruited very different experienced people from outside and mixed them with internal experience and youth
We were successful!
Do you have a mentor?