Instagram Innovation Roles


Instagram is a quick and fun way of sharing one’s life with friends through a series of photos. It allows people to take pictures and share them instantly with others on different platforms. After taking a picture, one chooses a filter to turn the picture into a memorable moment, which is available forever. The builders of Instagram had the vision to give people an opportunity to experience their friends’ moments as they happen in life through pictures. Instagram creates a world interconnected through pictures and videos (Instagram, n.d.). As explained by the founders, Instagram had the purpose of solving three big problems.

Mobile pictures look average regarding quality. The Instagram filters ensure that such mobile photos are transformed to professional snapshots for sharing on different platforms. However, sharing on different platforms is very painful in that it takes time. Instagram allows one to take a single picture and share it on different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr instantly (Instagram, n.d.). One does not need to share the photo on these platforms independently rather through Instagram, the photo in shared in the platforms instantly at the same time. To share the photos, however, requires one to upload it, which can be clumsy and can take time. Instagram has optimized the experience to ensure it is fast and efficient.

Instagram produces various innovations to solve different problems. First, Instagram provided the filters, which help people to edit their photos before sharing them. From marginal size to background color, one can edit a photo before sharing it on different social media sites. This solves the problem of sharing mediocre pictures (Instagram, n.d.). Another yet significant innovation was the ability to share a picture on different platforms instantly. Once a photo is shot and edited, the user can then share it not only on Instagram but also on other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. Instead of sharing the photos in these platforms individually in the respective accounts, sharing is automatic through Instagram. Another innovation is the ability to share life moments with friends and family members instantaneously. Friends share each other’s life moments through Instagram. The innovation here is the instantaneous sharing in different platforms.

The company still has room for more innovations. The world has become one big place where one can exploit different ideas to come up with innovation. So far, Instagram is doing well regarding innovation. People are using it to share life moments as well as to advertise their businesses. One can use Instagram in many ways without any limits or boundaries. The company also encourages developers to use the Instagram API to help users to share their apps or services. This has improved innovation in that many people have used the platform to come with different innovations some of which have become full companies.

A good example is STITCHTA, a company that makes pillows and bags out of photos from Instagram. It allows one to have a pillow with their photos on it (Kolawole, 2012). It brings the photos into the real world where they can never get lost. Many of the developers have come up with different innovations to Instagram API platform. The greatest Instagram innovation is the Instagram itself. To make such an innovation, different roles are involved in the implementation of innovation. These include spotter, inventor, tester, idea champion, process manager, sponsor, protector, and the seller. All the roles are significant to making sure that an opportunity in the market is transformed into customer value. All the roles have a unique responsibility to play in ensuring that the idea becomes a success.




An idea spotter is a person who scans the external and internal environment for any opportunities. These are the ears and eyes of the organization. Internally, spotters focus on finding ways to making the organization more efficient. Externally, the spotter scans for competitive opportunities. A spotter understands how an organization operates, identifies a need for the organization, and then articulates this idea to the others in the organization. For Instagram, the spotter scans externally to identify a problem with the users. The spotter must be aware of how Instagram works and what ideas can make it more efficient. Spotters act as the triggers of innovation, and they must be creative and passionate and motivated about making the organization more efficient in serving the customers (Convertino, Sándor & Baez, 2013). An Instagram spotter must have the passionate for photos given that the primary role of Instagram is to share photos instantaneously. Someone with no passion for photos would have a hard time identifying an opportunity in the photo world.

In Instagram, the founders can play the role of a spotter. It is clear that they are creative in that they already created Instagram, and they know how it works. The company has employed many people from developers to managers and customer service people, but all these are under the founders. The founders generate the idea and then direct the employees on how to develop the idea to a product. However, in the context of Instagram, anybody can be a spotter. Employees are encouraged to be innovative, and they can come to the management with viable ideas. The spotter of Instagram was the founders who discovered a problem in the society and then saw an opportunity.


Once a spotter realizes an opportunity, the inventor comes in to generate creative ideas and solutions to exploit the opportunity. The spotter just comes with an opportunity, but the inventor now generates a solution of how the company can turn the idea into customer value. The major role of the inventor is to turn a market need into an implementable concept. The inventor must, however possess the knowledge and skills about the involved problem. In the context of Instagram, the inventor must have the skills to develop something. In addition, the inventor must have the industry related knowledge. The inventor of Instagram had the engineering and systems skills. This enabled them to generate ideas after identifying an opportunity in the market. In addition, before inventing Instagram, one of the founders was working with Google, which gave him the knowledge about the information industry.

The role of the inventor requires creative skills and industry knowledge. It can be played by anybody with the knowledge. In the context of Instagram, the employees with the knowledge of systems and engineering can play the role. Instagram innovations require development and systems skills. Any employee with these skills can serve as the inventor provided they have the specific skills to fit the specific innovation. In the context of Instagram, the founders who had invented it had the knowledge and skills.


The tester is the group or person that works as a reality check in the innovation process. Once the inventor comes up with an idea and a prototype is developed, the testing of the prototype occurs to ensure there are no errors. The tester must have the technical experience and a system thinking perspective. The technical experience gives the tester the memory to know what can fail and what can work. The tester is the person who has the understanding of technical hurdles that are required for success. The tester is not involved in the development of the innovation rather the major role is to test the innovation to determine if it can serve its purpose. The tester must thus have an understanding of the end user of the innovation to be able to determine if it will work. The sole purpose of the innovation is to create customer value and increase growth to the company.

The role of the tester can be played by anyone in the organization. In the context of Instagram, the roles require someone with the experience of how customers interact with Instagram. In addition, the person should have been in the company for a long term and understands what has worked in the past and what has not (Drucker, 2014). The tester can be one person or a department with a technical leader with a specialized experience. Remember the tester ensures there is no room for errors once the innovation is released to the public. When Instagram was innovated, a tester must have been involved to determine if the sharing of photos instantaneously was possible. The person must have had specialized technical expertise of photo sharing and editing.

Idea Champion   

The idea champion is one who stands for the idea. These employees are dreamers who act. For the idea to stand, this must be a person in a leadership position and has entrepreneurial spirit. The champion must also have the passion for the idea and understand its customer base.  The idea champion is the driving force of the idea. The champion must have the knowledge, ability, and expertise to advocate for the idea. In line with this, the person must have influence in the organization (Drucker, 2014). The person also serves as the face of the innovation project and thus must have a deep understanding of the innovation and its importance and values. The champion mobilizes all the required resources and support within the organization. The idea champion creates value for the innovation

A manager in Instagram can play the role of the idea champion. A manager will be in a better position to stand for an idea. However, the manager must have the spirit of entrepreneurship to be able to push for the idea. In addition, the champion will be able to mobilize resources and support for the idea as a manager. The idea champion focuses on the realities of the business. They see opportunities as being evolutionary for a long duration. They deliberately act to ensure that the idea is implemented by mobilizing resources under their control. The only person capable of mobilizing resources is a person in a leadership position. For a structured organization like Instagram, the idea champion must a manager.

Process manager

The role of the process manager is to direct the whole process of innovation. This person manages and directs the various roles involved in the process with the sense of the whole picture in mind. The process manager moves the innovation process from one stage to another. The person ensures that the process is going as per the budgeted time and resources and ensures that the team achieves all the milestones. The project manager has to be organized, attentive to details, and be a strong motivator. This person will direct the innovation team the complete the process.

The manager with the capability to manage employees in a project team can play the role of the project manager in Instagram. Once the spotter brings an opportunity, a project team is form to work on the project. The team is comprised of all the necessary roles with the project manager being in charge. The project manager will coordinate all the other team members to ensure that the process is smooth and efficient (Hallstedt, Thompson & Lindahl, 2013). The manager will also coordinate technology and resources needs across the organization. This must be someone with management skills and influential in the organization. In addition, it must someone with the knowledge of the organization to be able to manage the resources and technology as per the needs of the project. In the context of Instagram, a project manager with the passion for the innovation chosen by the different managers in the company or founders can play this role. Overall, it must be someone with managerial skills.


The role of the sponsor is to act behind the scenes to ensure that the project team has the necessary resources to complete the project. An innovation project requires resources and resources come from investors. However, investors do not just give away their money. The role of the sponsor is to advocate the innovative idea to investors to acquire funds. The sponsor also provides mentoring and advice to the project team until the innovation is complete. The sponsor presents the idea to the senior leadership and works to obtain resources. The sponsor must be an entrepreneurial person who can recognize a viable opportunity and then assemble a team to exploit the opportunity. The sponsor must not have the technical knowhow of the innovation since he will assemble a team to carry out a team to execute his plan. In a structured organization such as Instagram, a sponsor can be any entrepreneurial person who has the ability to recognize an opportunity in the market but has no capability to exploit the opportunity alone (Drucker, 2014). It can be an employee with the ability to recognize a viable opportunity in the market. The employee can then approach the management to provide the necessary resources to run the project. The employee then assembles a project team within the organization.


The role of the protector is to protect the project team from the bureaucratic and project threats and politics within the company. In structured companies such as Instagram, there are bureaucracies and politics within. The innovation team requires protection from these organizational threats. The protector ensures that the innovation team has insulation from threats such as lack of resources, access to knowledge, loss of talent. This must be a person with considerable political power. The political power is significant as an advantage to protect the efforts of the team. In Instagram, the role of the can be played by an employee with political power and influence.


The role of the seller is to bring the end innovation to the end users. This person becomes the face of the innovation to the public. The seller must have the ability to understand the competitive environment in the market and then turn the innovation into customer value. The seller develops the market strategy and expresses the true value of the innovation. The seller can also act as the spotter. They identify opportunities in the market and then convince the company about the value of the idea. The seller must be a good listener, have good communication skills, and be persistent. In the context of Instagram, the seller can be the founder or a senior manager. This person should already be a face of the company to the public (Govindarajan & Trimble, 2013). This makes it easy to sell the idea to the end users. This requires someone with the influential power in the company. In addition, the person should be persistent enough not to lose faith in the innovation even when the public does not adopt the innovation.


Innovation is the only way an organization can grow. Innovation is the process of putting ideas into a valuable product or process. All the innovative roles work together to ensure that the innovation is a success from the spotting to the selling of the idea. Every role contributes a unique insight and role throughout the innovation period. Every stage of the innovation process is very crucial and the necessary expertise is necessary to ensure the innovation is a success.



Convertino, G., Sándor, Á., & Baez, M. (2013). Idea Spotter and Comment Interpreter: Sensemaking tools for Idea Management Systems. In ACM Communities and Technologies Workshop: Large-Scale Idea Management and Deliberation Systems Workshop.

Drucker, P. F. (2014). Innovation and entrepreneurship. New Yolk: Routledge.

Govindarajan, V., & Trimble, C. (2013). Ten rules for strategic innovators: From idea to execution. Harvard Business Press.

Hallstedt, S. I., Thompson, A. W., & Lindahl, P. (2013). Key elements for implementing a strategic sustainability perspective in the product innovation process. Journal of Cleaner Production, 51, 277-288.

Instagram,. FAQ-Instagram. Retrieved 20 September 2016, from

Kolawole, E. (2012). The Instagram industry. Washington Post. Retrieved 20 September 2016, from

Do you need an Original High Quality Academic Custom Essay?