At Accenture, we encourage our clients to think “in the new”- to embrace innovative ways of thinking and operating – to embrace the game-changing technologies that make it possible. Doing that takes a lot of courage, perseverance and leadership.

Truth be told, it takes just as much courage and perseverance for us at Accenture to innovate and work in the new. That’s because anything truly new is uncertain and unproven. You face naysayers. You encounter speedbumps and roadblocks. Sometimes you even start to question yourselves.

My colleague, Molly Tierney, and I experience all of this firsthand as we work to develop innovation solutions for our clients. Examples include the Accenture Virtual Experience Solution (AVEnueS) which uses immersive storytelling and virtual reality (VR) to help Child Welfare caseworkers expand their scope of awareness and accelerate development of the judgment and skills essential to the job.  Another example is the Accenture Case Insight Solution (ACIS) which is a Salesforce®-based solution with embedded, industry-specific capabilities from Vlocity that puts crucial information at the fingertips of front-line staff and is engineered to promote positive outcomes for children and families.

At various points during both projects we were told that what we wanted to deliver simply couldn’t be done. But we pushed forward, and along the way, we learned a lot about what it takes to innovate and work in the new.

Now we want to share those lessons with you. If you’re in the middle of innovating and feeling alone or stuck… if you have an innovative idea but have been hesitant to propose it… or if you want to learn how to be more supportive of innovation around you, this blog series is for you!

In upcoming posts, we will explore our 10 lessons in greater depth. In the meantime, here’s a preview:

  1. Grow from grassroots. Find one or two people who believe in the idea and move it forward one person at a time until there is momentum.
  2. Keep everything in the sunshine. There’s no time to have multiple offline conversations and side activities. All work needs to happen in full transparency.
  3. Drop the anchor. Think about the people whose support you need. Find an event or important milestone they believe in or support, and then drop an anchor to that for the new idea.
  4. Have a point of view and eliminate assumptions. The new requires you to have a POV and to share that with confidence. It also requires you to eliminate assumptions. Instead, ask endless questions to “bottom out” on clarity.
  5. Trust but verify. How many times have we been told this? This old tactic must be carried forward into the new. When there are so many things happening that no one has done before, an extra set of eyes or hands is nothing but useful. (This is especially true when someone gives you a reason your idea will fail!)
  6. Take time for a personal touch. When something is new, there are plenty of reasons to say no to it. But with a personal touch, items that were once barriers often become stepping stones to great outcomes.
  7. Use your pivot foot. You aren’t following a well-worn path; you’re digging a new one! Sometimes we need to go around tree stumps vs. removing the tree—and we need to do it on a moment’s notice.
  8. Know that new = different. That means it’s going to feel different, it’s going to look different, and it’s going to read different. Keep reminding yourself of that.
  9. Stay the course. Stay focused on the outcome you started with once you have a victory.
  10. Know when “good” is “good enough.” It’s a fine line and only you can define it as the inventor.

Let us know what you think by leaving comments below. To learn more about AVEnueS, visit us here and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Read the next post in this series, ”Two Lessons on Bringing Innovation to Life.”

Valerie Armbrust

Managing Director – Consulting, Public Service

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