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Three types of innovation heroes: Which one are you?

At Playing Lean, our customers are heroes. Innovation heroes, to be precise. They are people who try to make the world a better place. Not necessarily by themselves, but by helping others innovate more efficiently and create new solutions to the problems we face.

We usually see three types of heroes who put Playing Lean to good use in their efforts.

The intrapreneur hero

The first kind of hero is the intrapreneur. We have a special place in our hearts for her. She may not be tilting at windmills, but her struggle is real. She’s on a quest to save her employer from the slow and painful deaths that face organizations that can’t keep up with today’s pace of innovation.

She may not have a special title or official responsibility, yet but she intends to transform her company bottom-up, one colleague at a time. She’s igniting a grassroots movement, carefully building up momentum and transforming the corporate culture.

Her weapons

Our intrapreneur hero is well read and knows her tools and methods. She is fired up and ready to go, but how does she make the others follow her? A book club just won’t cut it.

Instead, she invites her colleagues to a game night. Using Playing Lean to create enthusiasm and curiosity for the new way of thinking, she starts attracting followers to her cause. She then builds on her momentum by using tools like the Business Model Canvas or the Lean Canvas to explore transformative ideas for her company. Slowly, they start seeing the potential.

The happy ending

In our hero’s happy ending, top management starts paying attention. Soon, her bottom-up initiative has become a transformative company wide program.

The innovation coach hero

The innovation coach hero does not confine his efforts to a single organization. Instead, he tries to help several companies improve their innovation efforts. While he helps others innovate, he also builds up his own business. Writing blogs, organizing meetups and hustling for clients, this hero knows what it’s all about.

His weapons

The innovation coach hero has many tools. He’ll use project kickoffs, set up training programs or facilitate innovation competitions and pitching sessions. Playing Lean may just be one of his tools, but it’s his preferred one for setting up a safe environment where new clients can let themselves loose without worrying about the consequences.

The happy ending

The coach’s happy ending is long and fruitful engagements where he can see visible change in the organization. It’s not really about the money, it’s about having an impact.

The educator hero

Our third and final innovation hero is an educator. She might be a professor at the university or setting up an accelerator, but her goal is to provide her students with the skills and insights required to start their own businesses and succeed.

Her weapons

The educator has a curriculum to go through. She will provide all the necessary skills: The Lean Startup, the business modeling, the customer development and the lean scaling. Whatever she believes that a fledgling startup requires to survive and thrive.

To get everyone going, she starts off each new batch of students with a massive Playing Lean workshop. In addition to being fun and engaging, the sessions create a lot of learning hooks for future lessons.

The happy ending

The educator hero’s success is seeing her students succeed. She will read news about the startups she has been a part of helping and feel proud. She might have helped a few of them out with some seed investments too, so maybe there’s a windfall in the future?

We love our Playing Lean heroes. They may be one of the three main types, a mix, or something completely different. Help us fill in the picture. What kind of hero are you?

Innovation heroes was one of the topics we covered in our monthly Playing Lean Webinar. Subscribe to our newsletter to get all the latest updates - webinar dates, new blog posts, promotions and updates on Playing Lean products!

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