Twitter continues to enrich my life.

@lucyinnovation  tweets about : If you want to empower people, honor their ideas. Give them room and time to ‘talk’ their idea – then move mountains.

This is an excellent link on how to empower and help our associates innovate.

Let us consider modern day engineers in the technical track. No direct reports but lead design build projects with more than 80% of the work being hands on.

The traditional role of a manager does not apply directly here. Empowerment is the name of the game to work with schedules, budgets, innovative concepts, design reviews, feasibility.

On one hand you have to motivate and empower your peers. On the other hand you have to keep the focus on the project and not allow yourself to be distracted with ideas which may not be timely.

For example meetings can drag and not accomplish objectives if they are allowed to float in the name of not discouraging innovation.

It is a tightrope act. One way to combat this would be to allot a reasonable period of time for ideas and at the same time get the agenda accomplished.

There is also the danger of peers who are not well informed on the process requiring lengthy explanations for initiatives which may already be underway with similar concepts. Here you may have to request the discussion to be taken offline. Again a delicate act which should not smother innovation.

There are also the individuals who have some brilliant ideas which may be great, but would require the schedule delayed and the budget doubled which would delay the product getting into market within the window of opportunity. So, here we have to get these individuals into the forefront during the concept stage of the products.

Focus, Experience, Technical knowledge with depth in quite a few and breadth in many fields, a willingness to listen, creative confidence, an ability to say No, integrity, humility, a sense of humor, excellent presentation skills, high level of software literacy are all part of the arsenal an engineer requires to succeed in bringing projects in to modern manufacturing & services sectors.