Woody Bendle checks in today with an add-on to last Friday's post on innovation lessons from Academy Award nominee Moneyball by highlighting ten innovation roles inspired by Moneyball. While Moneyball went 0 for 6 in the Academy Award game, Woody knocks it out of the park with this post!

Ten Innovation Roles Inspired by Moneyball - Woody Bendle

With Moneyball a six time Academy Award nominee, I thought I'd put together my thoughts about the ten different innovation roles and have some fun by using some baseball analogies in my discussion.

Yes I know there are nine players on a baseball team.  But, the Oakland A's are in the American League, and the starting rosters of AL baseball teams include the Designated Hitter,  (9 + 1  = 10)!

Just a quick refresher on innovation before we slide into to our discussion about the ten innovation roles.

I define innovation as follows:

Innovation is the process of creating and delivering new, and differentiated consumer value in the marketplace, which can create a competitive advantage.

In order for an innovative new product to get to market and become successful, many different people need to contribute to that success.  Just like a baseball team, these different players have unique and complementary innovation roles and skills.  These roles have to work together and depend upon each other executing their role to their fullest in order to come out with a win.  There has to be continual communication and "chatter" between the players.  And, just like the starting roster of an American League baseball team, an Innovation Process team has 10 core roles.

The Innovation Roles on the Team's Starting Lineup

1) Needs Spotters -  Always canvassing the field, the competition, and the stands.  On the lookout for new angles and opportunities.  Have Faith Popcorn on speed dial.

2) Idea Generators - Inquisitive types with a focused purpose.  Strategic.  Know how to make the most of the information from the needs spotters.  Real Brainzoomers!

3) Designers / Prototype / Concept Creators - Resourceful and imaginative translators. Unique ability to bring ideas to the team and your organization's Major League clubhouse.

4) Business Case Developer / Manager - Charged with determining if any new solution makes ¢ents and dollar$ for the team in the long run.  Has strong relationships with everyone on the team.

5) Concept Testers (the research cats) - Get the right feedback from the fans about any new concepts or ideas and translate that feedback for the Designers, Developers and Marketing.

6) Product Developers - Create the final product by utilizing their own unique capabilities in conjunction with input from the Designers, Concept Testers and Business Manager.

7) Production Engineers  -  These guys are "Lean" to the core.  They figure out how to make the new product as efficiently as possible. Fluent in both Greek (Design for Six Sigma) and Japanese (Kaizen).

8) Production Operations (Manufacturing) - The team's smooth operators by nature.  Makes sure everything goes off without a hitch or a glitch.

9) Logistics - The team's Iron Man.  Knows the best way to get things from point A to point B.  And is always there for the team when needed.

10) Marketing, Sales and PR - Consummate promoters and communicators.  Know how to fill the stands and keep the fans coming back for more.  More than happy to stop to chat, and sign autographs for the fans.

From my experiences, it truly takes a diverse team with ten core roles to continuously have successful innovation.  These individual players all bring to the field unique strengths, skills and competencies.  And, when this team is working together like a well-oiled machine, you can produce World Series Championship Results!

Play ball!  Woody Bendle