Corporate innovators often feel like they’re working on an island, struggling to develop the next breakthrough app or product. The good news is that innovators have more control over the pace and impact of new projects than they might expect – you just need a process focused on rapid learning and iteration. Here are five ways to get there.

At their core, these five tips are all about breaking down the barriers to innovation that many corporations naturally build over time.

Build better relationships across every department within your organization.

Corporate innovation can be a lonely gig. The pressures of the core business unit are enormous, and it can be easy for managers to reject innovation projects that don’t fit the typical enterprise model for success. Building strong partnerships across departments helps instill a responsibility for innovation within everyone in the organization.

Use internal teams as inspiration for innovation.

Corporate innovators need the support to develop the breakthrough idea behind the next $100 million business unit, but many times there are smaller problems closer to home. Every department – creative, legal, HR – will have challenges to overcome. Building interdepartmental relationships can also uncover pain points to address.

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Set measurable goals and get ready to experiment.

We say this a lot: fall in love with a problem, not a solution. Once you know the pain points of your customers, experiment rapidly with different methods to solve the problem. Working across tactics allows you to hone in on a solution that delivers true value.

Fail quickly with precise experiments.

Innovators often try to do too much, and it muddies the water when you’re trying to prove success. Rather than proving an entire product idea, focus on a single metric at a time. If you move the needle, you’re in business. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Leverage an outside partner (when it makes sense).

Sometimes, the barriers to rapid innovation are too large to overcome from within the enterprise. IT infrastructure, legal compliance, brand values – all of these can disrupt the model of rapid development and iteration. Moving the development of new products outside corporate red tape can increase your innovation team’s bandwidth and deliver the value of a creative partner.



Robert Berris is EVP and Managing Director of Three Five Two where he leads company strategy and day-to-day operations.