Your Innovation Team : 6 Critical Roles

Who’s on your team? All great ideas require an execution team; the individuals that will work together to take your idea from conception to reality. Identifying the people that are not only trained but compelled to “do the work” will ensure better solutions and ultimately better results in the areas that matter.

In recruiting people to support your project, think beyond job titles, roles, and responsibilities.

In recruiting people to support your project, think beyond job titles, roles, and responsibilities.  Your team should include a diverse group of individuals, with distinct points of view, and that interact with different parts of the system that you wish to impact. Together, they will collectively begin to see something that individually none of them could see. Your ideal team will represent a diversity of thought, talents, training, and life experiences.

Your Innovation Team – 6 Key Roles

In building your innovation team, look for the following roles:

  1. Visionary – The visionary is the person with the big idea. They add value to the team in bringing their original ideas and powerful imagination about what a better future will or could be.
  2. Thinker – The thinker is the person with a concern for understanding “why,” for identifying opportunities and areas of impact and for thinking it all the way through. They create ideological revolutions and add value to the team by listening, observing, analyzing and challenging how your innovation can make a significant impact and address life’s most important questions.
  3. Innovator – The innovator is the person with a concern for “how” you will execute the big idea. They add value to the team in identifying and developing new methods, tools and ways to make a significant positive change.
  4. Leader – The leader is the person with a concern for getting things done. They will add value to the team by leading, inspiring, empowering and moving the other team members toward the common goal and their highest levels of accomplishment.
  5. Communicator – The communicator is the storyteller, the person that can masterfully convey the big idea to others. Their goal is to transfer knowledge, feelings, and thoughts to persuade, to inform and to change attitudes & behaviors.
  6. Subject Matter Experts (SME) – Don’t forget the people that are impacted by the solution you are creating.

But First

Before you recruit your innovation team, you should know who you are, so that you can understand where you fit on the team.

Kishau Rogers

Kishau Rogers is an award-winning technology entrepreneur specializing in wrangling complexity using computer science, systems thinking, creativity, and common sense. She is the Founder & CEO of Time Study, Inc., a high-growth startup offering solutions for using machine learning, advanced natural language processing, and data science to automatically tell a story of how enterprise employees spend their time and its impact on the areas that matter. As the Founder and CEO of Time Study, Kishau is one of the first Black women in Virginia to raise millions in venture capital to scale her tech startup. She is also the owner of Websmith Studio and the editor of the bigThinking project, a resource for promoting the principles of systems thinking.

Kishau’s work is featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and Black Enterprise. In addition, she is a recipient of many awards, including the VCU Distinguished Alumni (in Computer Science), NAWBO Wells Fargo STEM award, the Lyn McDermid Community Impact Award, and the MBL Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In her commitment to using technology as a tool for social good, she also serves as an advisor to organizations and initiatives like AI for Afrika, Think Of Us, WAAW Foundation, Level Up Ventures, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Computer Science, the first U.S. White House Hackathon for Foster Care and SheHacks Africa, a software engineering intensive providing training to women & girls across Africa.

She holds a Computer Science degree and has over twenty-five years of experience in the technology industry and more than 15 years of entrepreneurial leadership.

Add comment


Join our community of bigThinkers! Subscribe to learn, share and receive resources to apply to wicked problems.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.