When we are immersed into an innovation process of a company, we can see that a lot of things do not work in the same way that they were planned. People adjust their actions in order to increase the performance. Sometimes a developer knows who can give him support and do not follow the chain of command. This kind of relationships could increase highly the performance of this activity. Inside a company there are recognized experts that are turned into informal leaders of a
part of the innovation process.
If we want that our innovation process will be successful, it is important that the structures that we design are ready to reinforce the informal collaboration, if the formal organization interferes with this informal work, the results could be poor.
Senior management must understand how the innovation process is working, in order to maintain the work environment, and improve the performance through the formal organization.
Although an expert could be a good problem solver and he could be recognized as a leader, this judgment does not imply that we must consider him as the leader of the whole innovation process, the most important function in an innovation process is the internal sale. This aspect will require a formal leader that could negotiate with other managers in order to adopt the solution proposed by the expert.
There will be occasions that we could find both competences in the same person, but it is rare. In fact, we should define a formal manager that champions the project and gets support from the technical expert, in order to assure that the project is well defined and it is accepted by the involved part of the organization.