Tim Sanders on Innovation and Collaboration

people-thinking-gearsInnovation is one’s ability to get a concept to market. While innovation is an emphasis in product development and marketing, it’s equally important to drive it throughout your company. Research finds that world-class companies share a single attribute: The habit of conscious collaboration across departments to pursue game-changing deals. It changes the entire company culture, leading to breakthroughs.

Former Yahoo! executive, Tim Sanders, led a Master Class for the ExecuNet community and shared his philosophies on innovation and high-results collaboration.

“Creativity is a team sport, and to harness creativity and spur innovation it takes an environment, a chemical soup, of people who are highly motivated around a problem and then leading them to share what they know and debate what they feel to come up the next best way to solve that problem on the way to an ultimate solution,” said Sanders.

Conscious collaboration across departments with multi-disciplinary thinking is the secret to success, not reliance on the lone inventor.

“A good dealstorm involves everyone who has a stake in the outcome, as well as experts on your sticking points.” The experts have knowledge about the people, problem, objection that’s causing you to be stuck; they may have been in this situation before. “Don’t invite people to a meeting. Invite them to join a cause,” said Sanders. Make it a mission they can relate to and get behind.

deal-storming-chartPrepare a two or three page deal brief a couple of days in advance so everyone can add value right away. Having a 20-minute information dump at the start of a meeting and expecting people to make meaningful contributions up on the spot is unrealistic.

The facilitator, or team leader, must have clear ground rules and agendas to keep the group on track and to allow, even encourage, ideas from all perspectives. Having an environment that encourages risk-taking is vital.

Prototype first and implement second. Making mocks-ups is necessary to making incremental progress toward a goal. Prototypes require intensive analyze to determine next steps. This analyze should be formalized in reports for the team to determine what their next play will be and how what they have tried worked out.

Watch the recording of this session of ExecuNet Master Class to hear Tim talk about these points, and much more, in greater detail. Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon That Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges
ExecuNet’s original series, ExecuNet Master Class, transforms the world’s leading community of the brightest business thinkers, top leadership experts, and trusted executive career advisors into your own personal network of instructors to help you do your very best work and take your career where you want it to go next. Our goal is to provide you with 365 days of inspiration to help you meet every career, business and leadership challenge that you encounter.


William Flamme

William Flamme

William Flamme is ExecuNet's Marketing Content Manager, where he is responsible for developing engaging career, job search, and leadership insight and delivering executive-level content across the various properties under the ExecuNet brand. Prior to joining ExecuNet in 2008, Will earned a master's degree in education and taught fifth grade and sixth grade. As a teacher, he deepened his appreciation for the written word and mastered skills necessary for managing writers who sometimes view deadlines as homework.

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