What does it take to be successful at managing innovation? Patricia Seybold, founder and CEO of the Patricia Seybold Group and a New York Times best-selling author on the subject of innovation has a few ideas to share.

What is innovation management to you?

In order to manage innovation in both large and small organizations, I believe that you need to have a unique and broad skill set. You need to be a tireless champion, an authentic practitioner (have some failures and successes under your belt), a systems thinker who can put the right tools and structures in place,  a superb networker and politician, and a great team builder. You also need to be good at DELIVERING products and services as well as good at evolving (and blowing up!) products, services, and business models as you go. Good innovation managers network and share best practices and learnings both within their organizations and across organizations.

What are the most important lessons for an innovation manager to learn?

  1. When and how to declare victory (in small bite-size chunks).
  2. Learn from mistakes and dead ends in order to avoid much more costly or time-consuming failures.

Do you think innovation management as a profession is headed in the right direction?

Yes, because I see a lot of practitioners moving towards an outside in, vs. inside out, approach towards both ideation and execution–getting more customers and other external subject matter experts with cross-disciplinary skills engaged in every step of the innovation process.

What’s your next big challenge?

Helping a mammoth organization put the structures in place to shift its corporate culture from inward-centered innovation to customer-centric innovation.

About Patricia Seybold:

Patricia B. Seybold is the founder and CEO of the Patricia Seybold Group founded in 1978 in Boston, USA. She is the New York Times best-selling author of Outside Innovation, and The Customer Revolution. Patty is a visionary thought leader and innovation catalyst with the unique ability to spot the impact that technology enablement and customer behavior will have on business trends very early. She helps clients work directly with their B2B and/or B2C customers to evolve their business strategies, products, and services to address those customers’ most critical needs.

Patty uses coaching, mentoring, and learn-by-doing consultative approach to help clients’ formulate new goals and achieve them. She helps her clients’ teams redesign their businesses from the outside in by inviting their customers to co-invent new streamlined ways of accomplishing their desired outcomes, using their own real-world scenarios. She uses end-customers’ operational success metrics to align stakeholders around what matters most to customers.