Innovation Basics: 8 Ways of Raising Program Awareness

By Michael Watkins

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Changing the world, one idea at a time has to start somewhere. Even the organizations that regularly bring about revolutionary change had a first step to take on their journey. In the Innovation Basics series, we focus exclusively on what that first step could look like for newcomers to the innovation world. Follow this guidance to achieve faster, better innovation.

Participation and active engagement are crucial for innovation programs getting off the ground and staying relevant to the progress of the business. Often, programs die not because of a lack of willingness, but because people simply weren’t aware of the Challenges being run or even the program at large.

Challenge communications are vital for individual Challenges to be successful and deliver outcomes that help the company innovate. However, the overall program needs a devoted awareness strategy in order to encourage participation, building a culture of innovation that eventually allows programs to scale across an entire organization.

In this blog, we’ll discuss 8 great ways in which you can raise the awareness of your organization’s innovation program. It is key to note that these aren’t all applicable to every business, and you may not be able to support all 8 initiatives. Similarly, it isn’t a case of just selecting one. You can combine multiple techniques should you wish to.

8 Ways of Raising Awareness of your Innovation Program

Below, we bring together our 20+ years of experience in getting our customers to run effective innovation programs through deploying these techniques as part of awareness campaigns. Remember: there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach, so try a number of them out and find which works for you.

  • Webinars: using webinars as a “Kick-Off” for a new Challenge ensures that everyone involved is clear about what is expected of them and why the Challenge is being run.
  • Lunch N Learns: utilizing an innovation expert from the industry to take a Lunch N Learn session not only keeps messaging fresh but may motivate people to get involved who may not have done so otherwise.
  • Innovation Champion Training: having Champions throughout the business at a local level is critical to the implementation of successful ideas and the potential to scale the program, there to encourage participation and answer any questions people may have.
  • Gaining Executive Awareness: use success stories from other similar programs and directly address how the program can benefit them to ensure they take the idea seriously.
  • Leveraging Your Intranet: most organizations in a digital world have some form of intranet or communal message board, allowing for the sharing of short overview videos of Challenges being launched, some success stories, or even the ability to take a pulse survey and determine interest from across the organization.
  • Town Halls/Conferences: using these events as an opportunity to give a high-level overview of the program, outline the benefits of running a Challenge, and sharing success stories is a great way to raise awareness of the innovation program.
  • Awards Events: these events – which most companies run at some point in the year – are a really easy way to celebrate the program and promote its successes. The Wazoku platform allows program leaders to use gamification to assign points to participants based on what they’ve contributed.
  • A ‘Challenges’ Challenge: a ‘Challenges’ Challenge involves creating a site on the platform that acts as a knowledge base and a way for people to register their interest in taking part. Building this gives people an always-on resource for answering questions and submitting suggestions. Just make sure it’s reviewed regularly!

In this blog, we’ve explored the many ways in which program leaders can raise awareness for their innovation program. Raising awareness is not an either/or science, so feel free to use more than one of these options together – just make sure they work for the audience you want to participate!

Read the next blog in the Innovation Basics series: The Stages of Determining Innovation ROI

By Michael Watkins

Michael is Wazoku's Product and Brand Marketing lead. Away from the office, he's our resident film buff, so if you want some recommendations for a night in front of Netflix or a trip to your local cinema, get in touch with him!