Adaptors & Innovators Managing Each Other

– by David Warinner, Procter & Gamble

How adaptors can capitalise on innnovators

1. Listen to them.

2. Make sure they can find each other.

3. Get them to tackle problems that have no known solution approaches.

4. Protect them from bumping into too many rules.

5. Let them fail gracefully – they do take risks for you.

6. To find possible dangerous problems lurking in the current process.

7. Put them where they’re not wanted – they are good catalysts.

8. Put them in an area where we are not sure what to do next.

9. Where radical change is vital else we might decline.

10. Use up front in project, especially where the boundaries are uncertain.

11. Reward & recognise the way they will perceive it.

12. As recruiters & provide an identification/image to attract more.

13. Assign to areas they know the least about.

14. Use where you want excitement – then duck for cover.

15. Evaluate software.

16. Use in crisis situation.

17. In using them be sure to deal with these problems:

  • How to (and how much) to press for answers/decisions/follow through
  • How to use high level, high innovator managers
  • How to balance the need for their ideation and forcing them to fit

What innnovators want from adaptors

  • Help us find stop ideation stop-button
  • Sort through our ideas and select the one that will work NOW
  • Help us build on our ideas whilst polishing them to perfection
  • Help implement
  • Help sell ideas (even to other innovators)
  • Help communicate (in general)
  • Tie ideas to bottom line
  • Develop statistical process controls
  • Prioritise the help us manage the organisation
  • Warning of risk arising from the current position
  • Set strategic direction that can be understood
  • Reality check
  • Reduce uncertainty
  • Monitor our operation of the detail of the business
  • Process refinement
  • Problem determination
  • Generate policy procedures and structures
  • Document – which one and where is it?
  • Create supportive enviroment:
  • – extreme thinkers cannot stand alone
    – (something we too must remember)

  • make sure no extreme thinker is treated as subservient

Originally published in KAI News, 1994