Strength in numbers
That's why we are such enthusiastic supporters of an innovation community. In any organization, there are rule breakers, people who are constantly trying to determine how to do things differently, or how to stop doing things altogether. In any one business unit or business function, this may be no more than one or two people - across an organization, however, you may find a small, but critical mass of innovators. If you can build the structures that allow these individuals to interact, to share ideas and help each other, then you will build a team that can help your organization innovate.
Let's face it - no one wants to be the "odd duck" or the lone innovator, so often good ideas are left by the wayside because the innovators don't want to carry the burden and resist the nay-sayers by themselves. Reinforced with other like minded supporters, however, they may find it easier to push back. Additionally, they'll find other support and infrastructure - relationships they were unaware of or information and data they did not know about. They will also gain other friendships and colleagues that will support their work, and who know the right questions.
A thriving innovation community is one that has the same innovation language and culture, that meets regularly and exchanges ideas, provides a means for any participant to submit ideas or target opportunities for the rest to brainstorm and has a "location" - online if not physical - where people can meet.
Once the community starts interacting, it will be surprising how easy innovation can be. Surrounded by like-minded colleagues, an innovator may find it easier to generate and manage ideas, and his or her colleagues can help evaluate the ideas. There's no better way to get different perspectives from people you trust who share your desire for greater inspiration.