Skip to content

Champion Innovation by Engaging with Stakeholders

Mapping Out Early Advice

Most projects involve multiple stakeholders, and getting their feedback early in the process could be key to the progress of an innovation project. Stakeholders need to be identified, consulted and involved in the project if you want to move it forward. It’s also important for a research initiative that perhaps shouldn’t go forward, points out Brant Cooper of Moves the Needle, in the blog, “Identifying and Engaging Key Stakeholders to Get an Innovation Initiative Prioritized.” Consulting with stakeholders ahead of time, and identifying a project and canceling it quickly since it might not be aligned with the core business or its values, could save time, money and energy as well. Knowing your stakeholders might give you the knowledge to pivot.

Reaching out and recruiting stakeholders early is crucial. Communicate with them and address their concerns. Identify their goals. Stakeholders can provide information, resources, feedback and insight to a project as it moves towards its goals. Cooper notes, “Innovation leaders need to identify and engage stakeholders early and often because these influential team members have the ability to support, influence, or kill a project based on their beliefs about what a team might be working on and how the project affects their own goals.”

Identifying the stakeholders is the first key step. Just like you create an innovation plan and the solution you are striving for, create a plan for who to engage, advises Cooper. “To do this, think about the problem your team is aiming to solve and identify all of the potential business units who might be involved. Using this information, you can come up with a stakeholder map and a plan to educate the individuals on that list about what you are doing when it makes the most sense to do so.” Once you’ve mapped out your stakeholders, engage with them and get their buy-in and prioritization to move forward.

Meeting the Collective Intelligence

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, Achieving Transformational Innovation, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and how to make it a reality. Transformational innovation, digital transformation, and the decision making around it.

Gaining stakeholders is a key part of the process. As Oscar Barranco Liebana, Innovation Director, FIFA World Cup 2022, puts it, “One important thing that we learned from the interaction of so many different stakeholders is that each organization has their own agenda, their own processes, and their own way of thinking. So, what we learned is that if we can maximize the collective intelligence from different stakeholders, we were improving the intelligence for innovation. And that means that we are breaking the silos, we’re breaking the processes, and the collective intelligence of the ‘super mind,’ what we call different stakeholders from different perspectives.”

TMRE will be held this year from October 23-25, at the Gaylord Rockies Event & Convention Center, Denver, CO. In the session, “Getting a Seat at the Table,” it’s all about the influence of insights. But much like innovation’s focus on stakeholders, explore how to build an insights culture that has influence and is an indispensable partner in driving consumer-centric thinking and guiding decisions. The session will be held by Christopher Frank, author, Co-Faculty Director, Columbia University, and Thomas Walker, Vice President, Global Consumer Insights, eBay.

Register for TMRE now to see the session.

The Steak & The Sizzle

Stakeholders play a crucial role in the process of innovation due to their diverse perspectives, influence, resources, and potential impact on the success of innovative initiatives. According to ChatGPT, here’s why stakeholders are important to the innovation process:

  1. Diverse Perspectives: Stakeholders represent a wide range of perspectives, including customers, employees, investors, partners, suppliers, regulatory bodies, and more. Their varied viewpoints provide valuable insights into different aspects of the innovation process, helping to identify potential opportunities, challenges, and risks.
  2. Feedback and Validation: Stakeholders can provide feedback on innovative ideas, concepts, and prototypes. This feedback helps refine and validate ideas, ensuring that they align with the needs and expectations of the target audience and market.
  3. Resource Allocation: Stakeholders often control or allocate resources such as funding, time, and expertise. Engaging stakeholders early in the innovation process allows for resource allocation and planning that supports the development and implementation of innovative solutions.
  4. Risk Mitigation: Stakeholders can help identify and address potential risks associated with innovation, whether they are financial, operational, legal, or related to market acceptance. Their input can lead to more informed risk assessment and mitigation strategies.
  5. Buy-In and Support: Innovative initiatives often require buy-in and support from various stakeholders to succeed. Engaging stakeholders early and involving them in the decision-making process increases their ownership and commitment, which can lead to smoother implementation.
  6. Expertise and Knowledge Sharing: Stakeholders bring their expertise and industry knowledge to the table. Their insights can provide a broader context for understanding market trends, technological advancements, and best practices, contributing to the development of more effective and relevant innovations.
  7. Networking and Partnerships: Stakeholders can facilitate valuable networking and partnership opportunities. Collaborating with stakeholders can lead to strategic alliances, joint ventures, or partnerships that enhance the innovation process through shared resources and complementary expertise.
  8. Alignment with Business Goals: Stakeholders help ensure that innovative initiatives align with the overall business strategy and goals. Engaging stakeholders in the innovation process helps maintain a clear connection between innovation efforts and the organization’s larger vision.
  9. Market Adoption and Acceptance: Stakeholders, especially customers, are often the end-users of innovative products or services. Involving them in the innovation process increases the likelihood of creating solutions that resonate with the market and are more likely to be adopted.
  10. Change Management: Innovation often brings about changes in processes, roles, and organizational culture. Engaging stakeholders helps manage the change effectively by addressing concerns, communicating benefits, and involving relevant parties in the transition.

Championing Innovation

Stakeholders are critical to the innovation process because they bring diverse perspectives, resources, expertise, and influence that contribute to the success and sustainability of innovative initiatives. Engaging stakeholders fosters collaboration, alignment, and a holistic approach to innovation that considers various factors necessary for its successful execution.

Engaging with stakeholders can lead to the creation of “innovation champions,” true partners and allies to your research and development projects. As Cooper reminds, “If this step is forgotten, valuable time might be wasted on developing products that are not strategically aligned with the core of the organization instead of spending that time on solving customer problems that fall within the realm of possibility.”

Video courtesy of Edward Shehab


  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.


Related Content

football chalk game plan
innovation strategy

Innovation Principles, 6/7

Development strategy (i.e., Game Plan) is a set of choices within applicable constraints and trade-offs that defines our development approach and posi…

innovation strategy

The Benefits of Innovative Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship and innovation are closely linked concepts but also distinct and separate stages in business. Defining both is helpful from both an o…

agile innovation

Finding the Way to Business Transformation

The concept of business transformation can be defined with a broad range of meanings depending upon the business and the different stakeholders that p…

innovation culture

Creating the Right Innovation Partnership

Corporations often face many challenges when it comes to developing innovation in a fast, evolving market. They can face barriers such as inertia, the…

innovation and sales

Bringing Sales and Innovation Together

Just how can innovation and sales work together to find success? Too often, companies find themselves stuck in their respective departments and the si…


Balancing the Innovation Partnership

Startup and corporate partnerships are a delicate balancing act but one that can maximize innovation success for both partners. Certainly, there are c…

artificial intelligence

The Impact of AI on Innovation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having a profound impact and influence on a broad range of industries. From healthcare to publishing to industrial fie…

data science

Solving the Data Bottleneck

The flow of data into an organization has increased as technology such as AI has been developed and rolled out. Big data is here. Some companies may f…

Innovation Resources
open innovation

External Partnerships Fuel Innovation

As part of the continuing series of conversations at FEI with All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler, next on tap is Eric Agdeppa, R&D Director, Innovat…

innovation team

The Finance Factor in Innovation

The finance function in an organization often gets tabbed as a bottom line-oriented, conservative department that more often than not stifles innovati…

disruptive innovation

The Progress of Innovation

Technology is shaping our society, taking us in new directions and playing a key role in our lives every day. These forces can disrupt, or delight, co…


Generating Innovation Through Ideation

Ideation is often confused with innovation, along with other related terms regarding the creative process, such as brainstorming or design thinking. W…

digital transformation

Going ‘All In’ On Business Transformation

There are many different types of business transformations at play in today’s corporate world. This could, for example, encompass the significant di…

innovation culture

Growing a Culture for Business Innovation

Whether it entails a large jump or a small step, the innovation pipeline for a business keeps it moving forward through a competitive landscape. Busin…


Gaining True Value While Moving Forward

The All Things Innovation community came together in this Gathering on Innovation Strategy to drive immediate lessons learned through the first half o…

brand friction

Embrace Good Friction to Stimulate Growth

The concept of positive brand friction postulates that it can be used to stimulate and maximize growth, improve the customer experience and enhance ma…

innovation strategy

Innovation During A Downturn

Whether you believe the USA is headed toward or already in a recession, there are signs of a slowing or reversal of economic activity. Of the 15 metri…


Striving for Successful Innovation

In the quest for innovation, there is often a fine line between success and failure. The road to success is not always clear, easy or convenient. Howe…

product innovation

15 Second Workday

This morning I generated 40 new product ideas with concepts and ad copy to accompany each.  It took 15 seconds. This is just a small fraction of what…

business innovation

Innovation Survey

The All Things Innovation Survey Committee along with FEI have created a Spend & Trends survey to provide you the opportunity to benchmark with your p…

2023 Outlook

Known uncertainty. We enter 2023 with some of the most known uncertainty of our lives. Going into 2019- certainty. Going into 2020- certainty-albeit m…

innovation frameworks

Innovation Ecosystems

Innovation is a journey, it’s a continuum of experiences, an act of exploration. The orchestration of ecosystems is more and more important in consi…

Innovation Spend & Trends Report

The Innovation Spend & Trends Report has just been released onsite at FEI: Front End of Innovation. Be among the first to gain from this benchmarking…

innovation culture

Innovation As Constant Change

The key strategy to a successful business is to know when they are being innovative or are just transforming their status quo according to market tren…

innovation strategy

Innovation versus Transformation

Many people think digital transformation and innovation are one in the same, but according to Hatrick, while they are closely related, there is a diff…