You need five functions to build a strong, internal team that can take the lead and help other innovation people extract value out of the intersection between open innovation and social media. They are:
1. Researchers. You need people who are good at finding information online and more importantly, they need to be very capable at judging what is good information and what is irrelevant noise. This is where you start building your content and knowledge about innovation opportunities within your industry.
2. Communicators (writers). You need people who can take the good information found by the researchers and “package” it in appealing ways. This includes writing good blog posts and raising interesting discussion on own destination sites and setting guidelines on writing good tweets and posts on external channels.
3. Networkers. You cannot separate virtual from physical activities when it comes to innovation. They go hand-in-hand and thus you need good networkers who excel at connecting the dots that not only identifies new innovation opportunities, but also accelerate existing ones. These networks can be better equipped by the work done by the researchers and communicators.
4. Speakers. This link to the above notes on networkers. Good public speakers are invaluable ambassadors for developing the perception of being an innovative company and thus help expand the reach of your innovation engine.
5. Digital natives. This is the tricky part. At best, the above functions are covered by people who are digital natives i.e. someone who live and breathe social media and thus fully understand such tools and services. This is unlikely to be the case at this early stage on the intersection of open innovation and social media so you will need to bring in people who can connect the digital dots and educate the other functions on how this works.
Although I mention five functions, I do not suggest that you should build teams with only five people. The key is functions, not people. You might have several people who can contribute on each function and you should try to create a team structure that allows for all of them to contribute.
This is important: You cannot bring in corporate communication people to do this work. They might be experts on research and communication, but they often lack the deep understanding of how innovation in your industry happens and this is key to extract and deliver real value.
Once the team is up and running, you should of course also make sure that everyone working with innovation within your company as well as stakeholders in your ecosystem help spread the word about the work done by this team.
This is still work in progress so let me know what you think!
P.S. If you like this, you might also want to take a look at this post: 6 Easy Steps to Become an Influencer