SEI requires both calculated expertise and moments of genius to build momentum and sustainable pipelines of innovation. This comes from individuals trained and positioned within an environment that leverages their capabilities both individually and collectively.
While standalone training programs for SEI are rare, there is a clear benefit in mapping out the skills and capabilities required by individuals working within an SEI environment, if nothing else to help with recruitment or team creation.
The team & capabilities module of the SEIC methodology is designed to help organizations develop staff to appropriate levels to manage SEI projects and initiatives. It addresses the reality of SEI within most companies – which is often operating without a formal mandate, requiring staff to develop excellent consultative and influencing skills.
The skills requirements of an SEI professional are wide and varied, and include creativity, tenacity, influencing skills, project-management experience and cultural and emotional intelligence. They are skills not often found in the same individual, meaning appropriate training and diverse teams are required.
Level 1: Opportunistic Innovation
Procurement staff have the necessary project management skills to be able to progress SEI proposals through the organization.
Level 2: Systemic Innovation
Staff from across the organization have a balanced mix of core functional competencies linked to common team and project working skills focused on the defined requirements of an SEI project.
Level 3: Interactive Innovation
Partnering organizations have developed specific competency profiles for SEI at an executive, managerial and staff level to ensure the alignment of strategic and operational activities.
Level 4: Embedded Innovation
SEI has been defined as a core network capability and this is reflected in the job descriptions and personal development plans of key staff identified as responsible for leading the activity, whether it be their own organization, the partnership or network as a whole.
SEI is a relatively new concept, which crosses the boundaries of business functions. The commercial capabilities of procurement are a crucial component of managing SEI successfully, but these must be combined with other, softer skills if significant progress is to be made.