Champion: an evolving role



Championing – from a research report of mine to the Economic and Social Research Council, 2005, entitled “Ideas into Innovations”

‘Champions are seen as vital – for getting support: access to Movers and

Shakers is a key ingredient. They link projects to intent. They are people who have a real problem – who want what you have got, and are at the highest level, preferably with Board power; and it is usually they who see the full picture of the benefits; and they share the value, the objective and the happenings. Champions are the key to the unlocking of resources for a project; and in some cases it may be appropriate to have more than one champion.

Some R&D people use organisational forums to get to hear about issues, and in which to articulate what they have got that could be of use to a problem-owner; and others may do a stakeholder analysis in order to find what they call under-shoots, then make a cold call on the owner.

Some organisations are finding that the stakeholders in any project are proliferating: there are more of them than there used to be (eg an area manager, a regional manager, the manager of Ethics, of Pollution etc); and the role of being a champion is becoming less paternalistic and more professional. Project managers talk about selecting their champions, (even about changing them), about establishing rapport, about drip-feeding them, about making use of them to keep contact with stakeholders, and about their becoming more involved in and integrated into the task of making a project a success, including trusting them.’