How to Build a More Innovative Team, According to Rev.io’s C-Suite

August 11, 2017 | Olivia Sekerak

What exactly does it mean to have an innovative team?

Innovation is a buzzword thrown around loosely in corporate life, but all-too-often lacks a defined path or strategy. When you look at the numbers, this disconnect becomes clear…

Two-thirds of organizations say that innovation is crucial to survival, yet fewer than one third say they are innovating successfully to drive growth and increase revenue.

“Passion for Innovation” is a Core Value within Rev.io’s culture, and we let it lead the way in everything we do. Today, we’re going behind-the-scenes with two members of our c-suite to paint a picture of how we build and promote an innovative team within our company culture.

Here are some insights from our CEO, Brent Maropis, and VP of Operations, Geneva Gross.

What does innovation actually mean? What does it mean to you?

Brent: “Innovation is identifying and implementing new ways in which we perform tasks, processes, and projects faster, more consistently, easier, with better results.”

Geneva: “At its core, innovation is just a “new idea” relating to process, tools, or concepts. To me, the qualifier for innovation extends beyond this definition – to be a truly innovative team, a significant or measurable impact is a must. In other words, is the idea significant? Does it matter? If I completely change the way my department runs but it has not made a measurable or significant impact to the well-being of my team or the overall customer experience, that isn’t innovation. That’s just a process change.”

How do you promote innovation within the Rev.io team? What’s the strategy?

Brent: “We measure what matters and provide transparency into those results. This transparency prompts feedback from employees, partners, and clients, which we then use to identify opportunities to improve processes and solve problems. We make sure our employees feel empowered to innovate and evolve everything we do.”

Geneva: “Our team leaders set an annual theme and six month strategic plans. We discuss this strategy with our teams, meet twice a year to align, and work with our Operational Leadership Team to uncover innovative ways to fulfill the strategic plan. This helps align the entire organization around a shared goal and provides the framework for our employees to be innovative with meeting those strategic goals.

Our functional teams also meet quarterly to make changes to business process, tools, and concepts. Each quarter starts with the idea that no process or tool is safe from change or replacement. Evolution is a necessity at Rev.io, and providing an environment where each team member has influence in their functional area supports leadership development and promotes grassroots change.”

“We publicly recognize those who show a passion for innovation in their day to day.”

– Geneva Gross

Rapid change and disruption are necessary to stay competitive in today’s market, but how can you keep your team engaged and positive throughout the process?

Geneva: “In my opinion, the most important thing is simply allowing change to happen. Most people want to evolve and grow and get excited about how this change will positively impact their future. So, give everyone a voice to weigh in on the change. This alignment will increase your chances of getting team buy-in or, at the very least, more positive attitudes because they know they had a direct influence in the future of the organization.”

What is technology’s role in enhancing team innovation?

Geneva: “Technology’s role is to remove obstacles to allow employees to be innovative change agents. I look to technology to allow us to be faster, remove decision points, eliminate repeated tasks, and provide visibility within the organization. I want to the tools to do the work so our people can come up with creative solutions for our clients.”

How do you keep innovation in mind during the hiring process?

Brent: “We ask behavioral-based questions that quantify a candidate’s willingness and ability to succeed in an innovative environment. We require each candidate to provide an example of how they have fulfilled their value for innovation in the past and their vision for driving it in the future. After each interview, we rate the candidate’s passion for innovation based on their answers.”

A few examples:

  • Please tell me about a time that you were presented with an issue to which you did not have adequate resources immediately available to solve and how you overcame it?
  • What technology are you most excited about currently and why?
  • Relate a time when you had a new idea and how you made the idea heard.
  • Explain a time when you were involved with changing and innovating your environment.

What are some common innovation roadblocks, and how do you encourage the team to move past them?

Geneva: “Analysis paralysis comes to mind. If you overanalyze, it is hard to just get off the ground. Innovation starts with the idea. Jump right in and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

“Relying on old habits and getting stuck in comfort zones. We create a theme for the company each year, set specific goals, and reward those who innovate.”

– Brent Maropis

Want to know more about how Rev.io is innovating to become the best billing and back office software company in the world? Learn more about our team and our process, right here.


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