Corporate Functions

Give them their own strategies.

“Where should we start?” asked Stephen. Recently appointed head of innovation at a large, diversified apparel company, Stephen had been tasked with building a culture of innovation across a pretty traditional, operations-focused set of brands. So, at the end of an innovation workshop, he asked for advice on the smartest place to get started.

The answer? With strategy. Begin by thoughtfully articulating the critical choices facing the innovation function. This would help his team understand where it was headed and how it would get there. He rolled his eyes. “We don’t need a strategy for our team,” he said. “The brands love us. They know they need us. Creating a strategy would be a waste ...

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