Assignment: Individual Reflection: Stakeholder Support for Innovative Ideas

Truly innovative ideas are often met with resistance. Consider the large number of record labels and musicians who were initially opposed to the idea of selling digital music rather than physical CDs. Many record labels feared copyright violations or thought that no effective and reliable distribution method could be established, while many artists worried that the low price of digital music files would hurt their income. Ultimately, this resistance was overruled as the digital music revolution proved profitable and pushed musicians, labels, and consumers to adapt to the new ways music could be accessed, distributed, and purchased. How do you think the early years of digital music distribution might have gone differently if all the stakeholders in the music industry supported the innovation? This week’s Individual Reflection will help you examine the influence of stakeholder support on innovative ideas.

For this Individual Reflection, identify a plan that you would like to implement within the next few months. Perhaps you are working on a plan toward achieving a goal in your personal or professional life, or maybe there is another, more short-term goal that you need a bit of extra help to achieve. Whether it is within the workplace or a personal area, consider how an innovation might span more than one department, function, or group. Consider your stakeholders as an Innovative Team. There will be stakeholders who seem willing to support your plan, are neutral to your plan, and a few who might be resistant to or against your plan.

Note: Consider the rubric and the expectations for exemplary work for this and all of your course assignments. Often, an exemplary level of work is considered innovative in the workplace. Using this mindset, complete the aspects of this Individual Reflection as if you are preparing a stakeholder report for a leader at your company (or a company with which you are familiar), a mentor, or a community leader.

In the solution development stage of the creative process, you will be taking your time to analyze and test several alternative solutions. You will be adjusting and analyzing potential solutions, all the while moving your team toward convergence. Using the text, consider Chapters 20 and 21 that includes the POINt tool and the Stakeholder Analysis tool (Applegate) which provide ideas and techniques to devise creative solutions. Also consider Long (2010) who emphasizes the importance of engaging stakeholders in meaningful ways to achieve project goals.

By Day 7

Submit your Individual Reflection in which you describe the plan that you would like to implement, including:

  • Your list of the stakeholders whose approval/support will be necessary for your success. Take the time to ensure your list of stakeholders is as complete as possible.
  • Considering the various stakeholder perspectives, identify what is important to each of the stakeholders on your list.
  • Your assessment of the risks to your plan and impact of stakeholders with different goals and interests. Explain how you might manage the impact and address any risks that emerge.
  • The specific details of the strategy, or strategies, you will use to align stakeholder interests in your plan, with your rationale as to why you think these will be successful based on your analysis of stakeholder perceptions and interests. (Hint: Strategies can include team-building exercises, conflict resolution methods, partnering, change management, best practices, etc. You will need to provide details to support your selected strategy or strategies.)




Required Readings

Document: Week 4 Weekly Briefing (PDF)


The Week 4 Weekly Briefing provides an essential introduction to the content and concepts that you will be studying during the week. After viewing the Weekly Introduction, the Week 4 Weekly Briefing should be your initial reading this week.

Grivas, C., & Puccio, G. J. (2012). The innovative team: Unleashing creative potential for breakthrough results

  • Chapter 20, “Developing Solutions” (pp. 215–224)
  • Chapter 21, “Implementing Plans” (pp. 225–230)

Golovatchev, J., Budde, O., & Kellmereit, D. (2010). Technology and innovation radars: Effective instruments for the development of a sustainable innovation strategy and successful product launches. International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, (7) 3, 229–236. Retrieved from:


The authors summarize sustainable innovation development within innovation projects in various industries (e.g., fixed and mobile telecommunications, high tech, and logistics). The article explains an approach using technology and innovation radars and a rating mechanism to evaluate innovation initiatives.

Catmull, E. (2008). How Pixar fosters collective creativity. Harvard Business Review, 86(9), 64–72. 

Pixar’s films, including The Incredibles and Wall-E, have won awards around the world and delighted viewers of all ages. Even aside from their artistic products, however, Pixar has a reputation for being an organization that supports and stimulates its employees’ creativity. Ed Catmull, one of Pixar’s founders, discusses the methods the company uses to become a truly creative organization.

Jouret, G. (2009). Inside Cisco’s search for the next big idea. Harvard Business Review, 87(9), 43–45. 

Have you ever heard of crowd sourcing? This is an innovative new method of problem-solving and product development in which a company presents a challenge to a large group of people and allows them all to develop a solution. By turning to unconventional groups of people to develop solutions, Cisco has created not only innovative products, but innovative management practices.

Howitt, M., & McManus, J. (2012). Stakeholder management: An instrument for decision making. Management Services56(3), 29-34.

This article shows how stakeholders’ conflicting expectations about their roles can affect the management of business initiatives and communication.

Long, S. (2010). The strategic implications of non-technical stakeholder acceptance in high technology system design and implementation. Human Systems Management, 29, 205-215. 

In this study, the author examines the introduction of a complex software system with a group of non-technical, professional workers. Innovative change-management approaches are investigated.

Applegate, L. M. (2008). Stakeholder analysis tool (Harvard Business School Exercise No. 808–161). 

This tool will allow you to analyze stakeholders using a stepped process. The tool includes an analysis chart, a stakeholder map, and an action-planning template.

Miller, P., & Wedell-Wedellsborg, T. (2013). The case for stealth innovation. Harvard Business Review, 91(3), 90–97. 

Recognize this scenario? You have an idea for an innovative project, but you suspect that your idea will meet some resistance in the organization. If you were to move it through a standard process, other departments of the organization could stifle or side-track the idea. So what do you do? You could go straight to the top for support. That however, has its own set of risks. You might face a CEO who would give your pitch a five-minute read followed by a “no.” But if you do get support from the top, having to prove your ideas among top leaders might be risky. In this article, the authors propose a different way to get your idea off the starting block: Stealth innovation – bringing your ideas to life under the radar.

Steele, R., & Derven, M. (2015). Diversity & inclusion and innovation: A virtuous cycle. Industrial and Commercial Training, 47(1), 1–7.

Clarifies the reciprocal relationship between Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and innovation to demonstrate how each may be effectively leveraged for the benefit of the other to help businesses grow. 



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