Setting Goals for Group Innovation

As part of the Roundtable (a self-created innovation and collaboration team), we've found out how important goal setting is to our success. It’s critical that you come up with a mutually agreed upon goal for your innovation team. The Roundtable knew we wanted to come up with innovative ideas and find homes for them within the business, but it took us a few weeks to really settle upon an actual goal. We partnered with author and consultant Nick Tasler to define our Decision Pulse: a simple way to answer tough decisions (like, what your team’s goal is!). Our team settled upon the following: Create and execute original ideas unencumbered by bureaucracy.

Similar to setting a team goal, it’s also critical that you establish your success criteria. Early on we pitched a few ideas around the business that were already being worked on and were frustrated that we weren’t accomplishing our goals. We realized that by (1) creating an advisory council of leaders within the business who had line of sight to the products and services being developed we would reduce the likelihood that our ideas would be homeless forever and (2) deciding that a ‘win’ would include the mobilization of one of our ideas within the business – meaning a business unit would add it to its product roadmap.

There is substantial research that setting well defined goals can improve individual and group performance. Think SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, Time Related. Our goal or ‘pulse’ is more high level than a true SMART goal, but once we established our work streams we came up with SMART goals for each one. Still not convinced? Read this great article on how goal-setting Harvard MBA students surpassed their peers with well-defined goals (

Your team’s next step? Figure out why you are meeting and what you want to achieve. Not all Roundtables have to be focused on mobilizing innovative ideas. Consider setting a goal like improving: employee engagement; operational processes; cross-functional awareness; etc. Once your group is up and running, take time to make sure you're still working on the right things - don't get sidetracked!