Your strategic initiatives will always be core to your organisation – that is in areas which contribute directly to your competitive advantage. Initially though, they might not be mission critical, and you can safely leave them in the hands of your innovators and experimenters.
The tough decision comes when the pilots have worked and they are ready for prime time rollout. Driving the roll-out requires different skills, although the innovators can have a supporting role. This is when your best people will be required – those who can take an innovation and deploy it across the mainstream organisation while managing the implementation risks.
The challenge is that there are never enough of these reliable commercialisers, and they will already be doing an important job in the mainstream organisation. The courage to redeploy them comes from your confidence that the strategic initiatives you have chosen are truly the highest stakes game in the organisation. Successful rollout will generate competitive advantage, with a substantial downside if the implementation disrupts business.
Put your best people on them! Their current role will always be less valuable and easier to substitute than rolling out a key initiative.