Like I’ve discussed in a previous show, innovation mentoring and coaching are two different things. Coaching is when working on a project, while mentoring is more long-term and focuses on one person. When directing teams on innovation efforts, the secret to success is a well-thought-out innovation or creative brief.
The Creative or Innovation Brief
I’ve done a lot of coaching and mentoring over the years. In one example, I helped design the new media exhibit in the Newseum in Washington D.C. I’ve done hundreds of similar projects, whether it’s working on a project that is already started or helping conceive a new one.
The innovation brief is information you share with your team or preparing to deliver to an innovation coach. The brief explains the ins and outs of a project and is a key document that saves a lot of time. It aids in discovering and understanding the overall goal of the effort at hand and the attached expectations.
9 Elements of a Successful Brief
There are nine essential elements of a successful innovation brief. The first element is to describe your organization. The innovation brief should include history, projects, programs, what the organization does, etc., to provide context. The second element is to summarize the project and why you need it. Is it new, or is it enhancing an existing product or service? Summarize why you are doing what you are doing and all it entails.
The third element is to explain the objectives, which is the most crucial part. It would be best if you thought through your strategies and goals thoroughly. Here, you need to describe the problem you are trying to solve. As an organization, don’t be afraid to share the reality of your situation with your innovation coach. The fourth element is to define the target audience. This audience will be the group that will be benefiting from your efforts.
Elements Five through Nine
The fifth element is to define the deliverables or the result of the effort. Recently, I was working with the U.S Marine Corps on reducing time for procurement. I was also teaching them how to use the FIRE framework. The deliverables were training and a prioritized list of ideas. We did both simultaneously and came up with some exciting ideas.
The sixth element is to identify your competition. Figure out what products or services they have and discover the point of differentiation. It is also essential to observe what trends are occurring. The seventh element is to provide the timing of the project. You must be realistic and listen to your innovation coach.
Element eight is to specify the project budget. Set this budget upfront and be realistic about your expectations before you get started. The ninth element is to list the key stakeholders. Either you are developing this brief to give to your team or an innovation coach. In either situation, it is vital to know the key stakeholders involved.
To know more about creating a successful innovation brief — creative brief, listen to this week's show: 9 Elements of a Successful Innovation Brief – Creative Brief.