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Q & A: How the Houston tech community can support LGBTQIA + innovators




Everyone likes to consider themselves as innovators. At the very least, we believe that innovation is happening in our domain. However, innovation management is a process that requires leaders to commit deeply and believe that risk is worth the reward.

For many business leaders, regardless of industry, it can be difficult to embrace creativity and innovation and invest the time, money, and staff resources needed to develop new ways to do business. .. For many, investing in the absence of a clear, immediate, or guaranteed rate of return is a conflict. When it comes to innovation, the highest rate of return on investment can be not only economic gains, but also learning and thinking shifts.

The leader needs to ask himself some questions:

Do you want to be an innovator or a follower? There is no correct answer because we need both leaders and followers. But one thing to keep in mind is that failure-free innovation is impossible.

Therefore, the following question arises. Do you focus on taking reasonable risks and learning or becoming a mainstream employer? And again, there is no right answer.

Seth Godin, author and former dot-com executive, once said, “No organization has created innovation. People innovate, not companies.

With that in mind, for anyone who truly wants to be a leader in innovation, there is something essential to every process. The most important necessity is to remember that internal culture influences success and top-down support is absolutely essential.

True innovation advances the organization strategically.

Specify ownership and accountability to measure progress. These measurements often look quite different from other success indicators, are often opaque, and are not immediately economical. These non-financial indicators can make team members uncomfortable, but that’s okay. Ultimately, everyone involved in this process needs to be proactive in creating a culture that listens to the truth and drives creativity.

Innovation is clearly aligned with the organization’s business strategy.

Team members designated as leadership require defined issues to be resolved in line with the stated business strategy. There is no point in innovating widgets and processes that do not move your organization forward.

Innovation requires defined processes and funding.

Leadership should start with a one-year budget just to focus on innovation and new things. These dedicated resources include funding, full-time employees, and support from consultants such as EPIcenter to challenge leaders and drive the process. There must be the approval of a team member with a leader who is committed to the continuous line of sight of the process.

Appropriate team members must be at the table.

You need the right people to make decisions, evaluate innovation, mitigate the risks of both technology and business models, and get things done. The team should include individuals who are adaptable, tenacious, new and agile, and have a mix of subject expertise and enthusiasm.

Successful innovation requires the right way of thinking.

Both the leadership and innovation teams need to have a mantra of what to do, rather than what we can’t do, or haven’t done so before, or failed before. You must have the will and aspiration to work, innovate, fail, solve, and do-or at least learn.

From time to time, innovative solutions can happen by accident during the process, without any known or stated problems. With proper training and curious thinking, anything is possible.

With these requirements in mind, let’s return to the first question asked by business leaders. However, this time, do it in the reverse order.

What do you value more by taking reasonable risks and learning while achieving strategic goals or pure economic benefits?

Is it okay to fail, adjust or retry?

Are you an innovator or a follower?

Again, there are no right or wrong answers. Know who you are. Otherwise you will get in the way.


Liz Thompson is responsible for advisory services at EPIcenter, a Texas-based non-profit organization. The organization has think tanks, incubators and accelerators focused on energy innovation and thinking about the future of the world.




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