The Adaptable Innovation Champion: Exploring the Interaction Between Multiple Roles

Gerard Berendsen (Twente Quality Centre, The Netherlands) 
and Ronald C Beckett (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia)

CINet 2016

In a previous study we concluded three functional meta-level roles supported
effective innovation outcomes – an idea champion, an investment champion who
embraces innovation as a strategic tool, and an interaction champion that
facilitates the process of innovating through orchestrating timely internal and
external connections. In this paper we illustrate the nature of linkages between
these three roles in projects within broader program settings using social network
analysis. This leads to the conclusion that particular actors may have to be
adaptable, playing roles that may vary between different innovation stages, that
new actors might take over some roles and that some actors play multiple roles.
We note that external third parties also have to be considered, and may enact a
champion role at some stage. Some observations are also made about the use of
social network analysis.