Here Ten is often seen as a magic number when providing solutions to problems. In this case it is a convenient way to provide a shortlist as there are a potentially huge number of people who can help with your innovation project. Read on to find out who can help and why.

1. You
You have the vision and have seen a way forward. A project needs to be started, the only way it can fail is through inaction so it is down to you to set the ball rolling.

2. Boss
A potential ally and gatekeeper. Get your bosses blessing (how is another matter) and those who waiver will follow.

3. Spouse
You will need an understanding spouse as there could be long days and filled weekends in store. You also need someone who knows you best to appraise your strengths and weaknesses and who will ‘tell you like it is’.

4. Children
Children are very good at asking awkward questions and making suggestions as they have not been conditioned by life. Particularly useful for products and services aimed at consumers.

5. Pub Landlord
Often ridiculed, but they are in a position where they can solicit opinion from a huge number of people. Good for testing ideas and taking soundings of a market. If you want to go up market, go to a golf club or wine bar!

6. Secretary
Another potential ally or gatekeeper. Secretaries or Pas often have access to a huge number of people and are well informed regarding office politics. Use as a sounding board and a source of knowledge.

7. Receptionist
Yet another person who interacts frequently with a huge number of people. They know who visits, leaves parcels, makes phone calls etc and are well placed to advise on networks and the interface with the outside world. Use your delivery drivers in this way too!

8. Finance Director
Finance is often seen as very logical but it can be used creatively as the fuel for innovation projects. Convince this person of the benefits of your project before the naysayers get to them and resources will be easier to come by.

9. Customers
I’m sure you do canvass the opinions of customers but how do you treat them? As responders to questions or as a huge body of knowledge to tap into. If you deal with them regularly and have a relationship with them then can you also tap into the bodies of knowledge that they have? Talk to suppliers also.

10. Standards Bodies
Often seen as gatekeepers, standards bodies and even your own Quality department can help you identify issues before they arise as well as spot barriers that might keep your competitors at bay but allow you access to a market niche.

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