The opportunity adoption and implementation plan are as important as the business case, which sells the opportunity value to its decision-makers. Many innovation professionals believe that their work ends with constructing the business case, but that should not happen. The adoption plan is a transition stage in which the innovation professional has extreme value.
The most valued innovation professionals in the market manage to engage the entire corporation in the opportunity and implementation of the project. However, it’s an arduous step because it takes a lot of strategy and organization to convince several company departments to take the new project seriously.
I’ll show you how to organize an adoption plan that engages all the stakeholders and departments needed to implement the opportunity in this topic.
- Understanding the key people and tasks for the adoption of the initiative.
- The central positions and responsibilities that should be in the project.
- How to create an action plan to engage stakeholders.
- Develop an adoption timeline and a relevant communication plan for each one involved.
In the end, we will create a checklist to lead the strategic decision meetings.
The first step is to identify what activities and people are needed to facilitate the opportunity’s adoption. For this, we will use a framework that goes from the Business Case to the checklist for strategic decisions.
The framework has tasks, start and end date, activity, end date, responsibilities, and space for annotations.
The second step is to understand who the company’s people are related to the project’s advancement, from the beginning to its commercialization, when the responsibility formally moves from the innovation area to the company’s structure.
The third step is to identify who the stakeholders are to create a structure and an action plan for each one of them. Unlike the previous step, we are now evaluating stakeholders both inside and outside the company.
Among the essential stakeholders may be:
- Supply Chain
- Local Community
With this list ready, you should evaluate how the project will impact each one, how you can respond to that impact, the person to whom you will address the communication, and the project execution period.
The fourth step is developing an adoption timeline that covers the business case to the commercialization/application of the opportunity. This timeline should include the time/effort required to acquire resources and develop external partnerships, among other adoption activities needed for the project.
The timeline helps decision-makers understand the amount of time and resources required for the project. It is also efficient for organizing activities among participants because it provides a view of the top and impacts in the chain due to delays in certain activities.
To build the timeline, you can use Excel to more specific software for project management.
The fifth step is creating a communication plan, an action as necessary as all the others we have discussed so far. It is essential to understand that different stakeholders should receive further communications, through various channels, with appropriate frequency and language. Yes, it’s complex.
A failure in communication can throw away all the effort built so far. Unfortunately, however, most innovation professionals still don’t pay attention to this element of the adoption process that aims to help convince the company to embrace the new opportunity.
Here’s an example of a communication plan:
Note that for each project, communication targets change, and message types are also different. However, the matrix structure remains the same, exploring communication objectives, target audience, message types, and frequency.
Building the communication plan requires a high level of organization and discipline. One suggestion is weekly to summarize the most critical messages and, Unfortunately, the main points for those interested. This strategy saves labor and increases communication efficiency, preventing relevant facts from being lost and discarding less critical issues.
Finally, the sixth and final step is to create a checklist for decision-making. Decision-makers need to receive the information as friendly as possible to understand the project’s impact on other areas and, of course, make the decision.
As you can imagine, it would be challenging to convince all decision-makers during a meeting.
Therefore, when you schedule the appointment, make sure that the decision is straightforward and accorded before entering the room. The meeting is a mere formalization of the decision.
If you are unsure about it and cannot clear the scheduled meeting, change the focus to something like “additional information,” “clarification,” or any other title that suggests discussing the subject. I do not recommend forcing the bar for any kind of action during the meeting.
To get more prepared for the decision-making meeting, check out the checklist below:
- Identify all decision-makers.
- Write down the decision you need them to make.
- Elaborate and describe all the steps and information they need to make the decision.
- Separated from the group, invite the decision-taker to talk and tell you what your individual decision is.
- Write down what was the decision made by each one.
- Be clear about what the next steps are. This helps you understand when the process ends.
Below is a table that can serve as an example to organize all the information.
Check the past articles!