Champions are people who enhance the value and case of a group through an independent capacity. Some places they may be called Evangelists. They are the people that spread the good word that there is a team around to make life better. Independence is the key because an outside voice carries more weight than someone paid by the group driving change. When Champions come about via organic means they are wonderful and valuable. They mean that we’ve done a good enough job to get people excited without support.
Sometimes Champions are assigned by the business to support an idea. In this type of instance their independence is taken away because they have to toe the line and spread a certain message. This also gives them a platform to modify the change to match how they think it should work. Champions have a great deal of leverage to influence the way things work as they are often see as the voice of a topic. If they say something should be changed it often will be because they are the “business experts.”
This isn’t always the case but sometimes it happens without even knowing it. Champions can be an extreme force for good. But sometimes they can work against your goals as well.