Major crises can inspire companies who are generally rivals to work together, for the good of the community. However, this change isn't lasting. Once the crisis is over, the conditions, such as competing for the same customers and selling similar products, will still be there - and so the companies will once again begin focusing on making sales, at the expense of the other company.
The U.S. Army would like soldiers to modify online field manuals, to include knowledge and ideas they obtained while in the field. Initial response was very low, so it was suggested that soldiers be required to participate. Although required participation would increase the number of submissions, it would not get soldiers' best efforts, since they would be doing it out of coercion rather than interest. Instead, the army should consider incentives for participation - such as awards for the best submission, random drawings for prizes based on submitting an entry, and recognition for high quality submissions by high ranking personnel.
There are several significant roles in the innovation process:
• Inventor: The inventor creates the technical aspects of the change. An inventor would have strong technical knowledge, but would not be adept in the political aspects of gaining support for an idea or building a business around it.
• Champion: A champion obtains support for the change. They find an idea they believe in, and share it with others, building a coalition and looking for ways to deal with organizational barriers to implementation. They are people able to stick with this process until they meet success.
• Sponsor: A sponsor has the ability to remove implementation barriers for a change. They generally must be a higher-level manager to have the appropriate authority, and they will approve and protect the idea during the implementation process.
• Critic: A critic is the "devil's advocate" for an idea. They are good at looking for things that can go wrong, and pointing out shortcomings. This is an important part of the process, since it points out issues that need to be addressed prior to a large scale implementation of an idea. The overall process is stronger, since many potential issues are improved or alleviated.
Champions are important to the initiation of change because they obtain the initial support needed to begin the change process. They are also crucial to the implementation effort, because they believe in the idea, and will take the time and effort to help others believe in it as well.