High-Potential Innovator™ Program (HIPI)


A High-Potential Innovator™ Program is aimed particularly at younger employees who are either not managers at all or junior managers. The aim of the program is to identify natural innovators at an early stage before they have left a company, become co-opted, or become discouraged by the lack of innovation opportunities for them in the company.

Once identified, the program aims to make special arrangements to allow these natural innovators to leverage their innovative energies by approaches to harness them to the company’s own aims, but without overly limiting the creativity and innovativeness of the HIPIs.



E. Ted Prince, Learn to Unlearn: The Innovation Connection, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, September 2009, pp.22-29

The Innovation Mission

Global companies now realize that their competitive survival depends on innovation. Countless innovation models have been formulated and launched. Yet most do not work.

This is because they all embody a major flaw. That is, they assume that if innovation processes are identified, prescribed and implemented they will result in innovations. To this end most companies focus on process rather than behavior in their innovation efforts.

Yet the evidence overwhelmingly points to the fact that what leads to innovation is the presence of people who are natural innovators. If natural innovators are not involved in an innovation program, the program is unlikely to work.

The message is that a company must identify, encourage and harness the natural innovators in its midst. These persons are usually not recognized and often feel unappreciated. As a result they usually leave, or tacitly give up making a real effort.

In other words, a company must focus on finding those relatively rare individuals in its midst who Have natural innovative behaviors. Once found they must be appropriately managed and tasked so that they feel valued and can be drawn into the innovation efforts of the company.

The HIPI Approach

Perth has been conducting research on innovation in companies for over 10 years through its work on business acumen. This is because one of the two drivers of business acumen is the possession of a value-adding style, which is the same as an innovator style. Perth’s approach to innovation is that the innovators, who are essential to any innovation process, must be found first and then harnessed to the innovation objectives of the company.

To achieve this Perth uses its unique behavioral assessments. These accurately identify the natural innovators in your company who are usually hidden behind behavioral facades designed to shield them from appearing different. Once the innovators have been discovered, there needs to be a process to bring them into the company’s innovation framework. Perth has a defined process to achieve this.

The program involves two stages:
•    Initial screening
•    Innovator program

Initial screening: The FOA assessment is completed on a relatively large number of staff. This is because only a small number will turn out to be innovators based on the assessment. Once the initial screening has been completed, each one identified will be interviewed and screened against a list of other criteria to round out the judgment as to whether they fit.

Innovator program: This program involved the final chosen innovators. Perth has a defined process to ensure that these innovators are leveraged in the way that is a win-win for both them and the organization to achieve its innovation objectives.

A High-Potential Innovator™ Program:
•    Identifies young innovators who are likely to be lost to the firm if their innovator energies are not harnessed in the correct way
•    Implements a follow-up program to harness these energies for useful purposes within the company

The High-Potential Innovator™ Program provides value to every level of an enterprise:

Increases the valuation of the ENTERPRISE by ……

•    Identifying young innovators who would otherwise not been noticed
•    Sets up innovators early in their career development so that they benefit personally as the company benefits
•    Aligning the disparate objectives of young innovators with the necessary sustaining objectives of a normal corporate environment.

Enables the CHIEF EXECUTIVE to.. …

•    To set up an innovation process that can be relatively independent of existing units
•    Harness a future source of competitive advantage
•    Tap early into innovative ideas that might otherwise have surfaced only much later, and maybe too late to be competitively useful
•    Move the company to a more innovative stance

Enables the EXECUTIVE TEAM to …

•    Tap into young innovators who can think outside the box
•    Integrate some innovations into their business processes much earlier than would normally be the case

Strengthens HUMAN RESOURCES by …

•    Giving it an approach to identify high-potentials who do not fit into normal high-potential programs
•    Providing them with an in-house source of innovators to spread around the organization
•    Allowing them a focus for their own innovation efforts independent of existing divisions

HIPI Outcomes

1. Kick start innovation efforts by energizing the hidden innovators in your company
2. Find the natural entrepreneurs in your company without whom nothing really new gets started
3. Harness them to vault your company to the head of the competition

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