Becoming a Champion of Technological Innovation

Written by Heidi Weber on July 2, 2019

I’ve always embraced technology, and I’ve pushed that forward in every position I’ve been in. Today’s technological advancements present many possibilities and solutions for organizations. Although most people can agree that there is always room for improvement, there are limitations and doubts surrounding the idea of bringing in new technology into operations and changing the way things work. Fortunately, there are ways to encourage people to embrace the world of opportunities presented by technology.


Using a cheerleader or champion approach to encourage innovation and new solutions to old problems can be a great way to get buy-in. People mimic the behaviors of others, especially when they see somebody being passionate about technology. Depending on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, that openness to incorporate technology in strategizing and problem-solving can rub off on other stakeholders in the association. Take it a step further and make sure you’re able to explain logically why your idea will benefit the members, the mission, goals, and strategic direction. That’s how you get buy-in. This may be a lofty idea, but I’ve seen it work.

Whatever your ideas are, make sure you do your homework and stay informed. I’ve been in my association for about eight years, and if I bring something technological to my board, I’ve already researched it, I’m going to be a champion of it, and I’m going to explain why it’s going to strategically benefit the organization. The flip side is that if you have a board that’s not very technologically adept, which may depend on what industry they’re in, you need to be more prepared. You might need metrics, reports, and other reassuring information that this thing you are proposing is going to work.


Bringing new ideas, technological solutions, and initiatives to inspire a more innovative mindset sound great, but you’ll need to keep in mind the priorities of your association and what problems to address first. How do you go forward? This will sound amazingly unscientific, but I think a lot of it has to do with instinct. In the association world, the term foresight has been bounced around quite a bit, and so a lot of us are thinking: What will we look like in two to three years? So how do I look at that? I think that instinct, trust, and confidence are three concepts that I use because I wear a lot of hats in the organization. When implementing initiatives, a lot is driven by the budget, resources, metrics, and reports. Sometimes, you can find a straightforward tool that’s going to set up a strategic pattern for the next couple of years. I found a tool, we’re testing it out , and it’s a very inexpensive one that will organize the governance for the organization.

I’m isolated sometimes in a small association, but my world opens when I attend an industry event whether it is AMS Fest, ASAE Tech, or SURGE. Networking is critical in gathering knowledge and insights on what is possible. It is my firm belief that shifting the culture around technology really starts with the chief executive officer. It’s their responsibility to move the culture forward and allow team members’ ideas to be heard, work on what they need to work on, and give them the space to work on it. A CEO must be the cheerleader who shifts technology into the organizational culture and uses instinct and trust to build confidence in technology decision making.

Heidi spoke in the “Tech is Powered By the People’’ session during SURGE Co-Creation, an interactive virtual conference hosted by on May 1-3rd. Click here to watch the sessions on demand.