The International Standard Organization recently released the framework guiding innovation management, the ISO 56002, and we have written the most comprehensive content to help you understand all there is to know.
For ease of navigation and because of the length of this post, we have created the below table of content.
Introduction to innovation management
Innovation management is an area of great interest for businesses and entrepreneurs of every scale. Eras’ past has always been dominated and defined by those with new ideas presenting solutions to pertinent problems and teaching society new ways to do things.
This article will be downloadable as an innovation management PDF eBook as it seeks to explore all the essential knowledge areas and answer as many popular questions about innovation management as possible.
The impact is evident in the exponential growth of many companies under 20 years old. Governments in countries like Singapore and The United Arab Emirates are leveraging innovation management to catch up and surpass century-old civilized societies.
From education to health, infrastructure, housing, and other crucial human concern areas, the impact of innovation management is easy to spot.
There are only a few well-trained and certified professionals in the field of innovation management. However, the world still needs millions of capable individuals in this knowledge area. Being among the pioneers in the field of innovation management will offer a priceless first-mover advantage.
What is innovation management?
According to Hollywood movies, innovation is the result of a eureka moment in the mind of a weird human being. Often, the innovator is depicted with poor social skills. The eureka moment usually feels magical and dramatic enough for anyone to believe. As a result of this faulty orientation, most people don’t deem themselves capable of innovative ideas.
Even among respected scholars and top industry people, there’s a long-standing argument as to whether innovation can be managed or whether it is a natural phenomenon. Based on evidence from thousands of research work, I can gladly tell you that it is possible and essential for long-term business success.
A few frontier innovators only know these evidence-based innovation management techniques. The techniques are the reason why companies like Amazon and Apple continually stay ahead of the curve. Instead of looking closer to understanding the process and culture, many of their competitors have resigned to playing ‘catch-up’ on their innovations.
Regardless of what you do and what scale you do it, you can leverage superior innovation management tactics.
To understand innovation management, we must first understand what innovation means.
What is innovation?
Innovation is the use of a better solution to fulfill existing market needs, meet new requirements, or uncover new areas of need. It could be a unique imagination, creative thought, or a new idea in the form of a method, model, device, or structure.
According to the New Zealand government, “Innovation is the creation, development, and implementation of a new product, process or service, intending to improve efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage.” Across the many definitions of innovation, the uniqueness of thought with the goal of better results remains constant.
Does innovation have to be successful?
A common question about innovation is whether innovation is an idea (the thought), an endeavor (execution of the thought), or both, respectively (the process of actualization, from thought to implementation). If it is an idea, this would mean the mere thought of an innovative idea is innovation.
On the other hand, if innovation is an endeavor, it means the ideas are not innovative until there is an endeavor to bring the concept to light. However, if innovation is the process of actualizing from idea to product, it encompasses every influence en route to the final product.
According to the Department of Innovation and Skills, United Kingdom, “Innovation is the successful exploitation of new ideas.” Judging by widely accepted scholarly definitions of innovation, it is safe to say the idea, the final product, and the actualization process can be an innovation as long as there is the uniqueness of thought to achieve better results.
Therefore, we can have innovative ideas, innovative processes, and innovative products.
Misconception in around innovation
Knowledge areas and the appetite around innovation management are becoming popular. Rightfully so, a lot of entrepreneurs and organizations have realized the possibilities of structuring for innovation and how it has worked out for companies like Toyota and Intel. The popularity is accompanied by yearning questions from people curious about innovation.
Below are three widespread concerns regarding innovation.
Does innovation mean doing it first?
Nothing is new under the sun, and every innovation draws its inspiration from an existing model or method.
The Apple iPad is the most successful mobile tablet in the market, and it is an innovation from Apple, but it’s not the first. Microsoft was the first to design a mobile tablet in 2001 after the first attempt by another company in the 1980s.
For both Apple and Microsoft, their respective products are an innovation. Microsoft being the first to exploit the new idea focused on designing a gadget that works exactly like a laptop, so much the product was named “The surface.”
On the other hand, Apple considered what the customer wants in terms of functionality and user interface, creating a gadget that fits right in between a computer and a mobile phone.
Does innovation mean doing it differently?
Uniqueness is vital in innovation, but the term is subjective. The assembly line model was first used in the automobile manufacturing niche by Henry Ford. However, finding new applications of the model and replicating it in other niches became a unique innovation in each sector.
The discoverer of X rays, Wilhelm Rontgen, wasn’t seeking to discover a medical breakthrough. Today, Xrays are undoubtedly up there with the most significant medical innovation. Yes, innovations have to be unique, but finding new applications for existing methods and models is as unique.
Does innovation mean doing it best?
Looking at the many definitions of innovation, value addition is another constant tonation. Defining value addition or determining a better solution rests mainly on the results and the customer. However, professionals use metrics and indices to measure value addition or what constitutes a better solution.
“Innovation is Turning an idea (product or service) into a solution that adds value as defined by the customer” (Tackie, 2020).
To fully grasp the concept of innovation management, we must understand the individual concept of the two words that combine to form the term innovation management. Just as we defined innovation in the paragraphs above, below is the definition of management.
What is management?
Simply put, management is coordinating a series of activities designed to achieve defined objectives and goals. In the context of innovation management, it is the understanding and coordination of a series of methods and models designed to achieve a repetitive innovative culture.
Innovation management definition
Innovation management involves tasks of organizing, planning, coordination, and control in a systematic way to promote innovation. It can also be defined as using the stages of a proven innovation cycle to manage the horizontal development of products, models, or services.
Examples of innovation
Every structured endeavor to promote innovation as a culture is defined as innovation management, for example:
- Design and development of products and services to disrupt an existing or conquer a new market.
- Improvement of products, services, and models aimed at creating brand uniqueness
- Internal process improvement to strengthen an organization from inside-out or cut costs.
Action areas and tasks in innovation management
Pillars of innovation management
There are two main pillars in the process;
- Organizational development activities; these are efforts driven at shaping the framework conditions that ensure the company is culturally structured for innovative ideas and successful execution of the ideas.
- Idea development activities; these are efforts tailored directly at the actual innovation. It involves activities like active innovation search, idea development, and implementation of ideas. These activities usually require project management and creativity.
Fields in innovation management
Innovation management is versatile, with numerous overlapping and distinct fields, some of which are listed below;
- Future management (involves the identification of opportunities, trends, and risks)
- Innovation process (involves concept development, actualization plan, solution development, prototype development, implementation, and marketing)
- Innovation culture (involves designing the ideal cultural adjustment required for innovation)
- Change management (involves understanding the impact of changes and the necessary systemic changes to actualize an innovation)
- Strategy management (involves planning innovation roadmap and mode of ideation)
- Idea management (involves finding, developing and evaluating ideas)
- Open innovation and Innovation networks (consists of the exploitation of external sources and resources for innovation)
- Patenting and protective rights
- Portfolio management and Innovation control
Stages of innovation
Innovation helps to systemize the process of innovation throughout all its stages. The stages include;
- Culture development
- Trials and prototyping
- Implementation and business development
Improvement vs. Innovation
An innovation is entirely distinct from an improvement. Understandably so, innovation is easily mistaken for improvement and vice-versa. However, there’s a blurry line that differentiates innovation from an improvement.
This refers to the upgrading of an existing system, policy, model, service, or product.
Although improvement also ushers something new, with the primary aim of improving a current solution, the success of improvement is easily measured by faster turn-around-time, higher standards, increased client appetite, etc. For example, Apple’s iPhone is an innovation, while the ‘iPhone X max’ is an improvement of the ‘iPhone X.’
Long before research evidence of the possibility to manage innovation through innovation management systems, entrepreneurs and organizations use improvement management systems to improve existing models, products, and services.
Improvement management is the use of coordinative methods and cultural approaches to ensure the continuous systemic improvement of existing processes, products, models, and services. Below are some examples of Improvement management techniques;
- Total Quality Management: TQM focuses on the quality of the process and product, ensuring employees uphold set standards and ensuring increased customer satisfaction.
- Continuous Improvement process: The CIP technique is based on the PDCA cycle. The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (PDCA) is designed to motivate all employees to leverage teamwork and bottlenecks to create constant improvement.
- Kaizen: The Kaizen message is a business philosophy that originates from Japan. The philosophy encourages daily improvement in every organization.
- Operational suggestion: Also known as BVW, the goal is to motivate individual employees to think about opportunities for improvement. Ideas are submitted spontaneously, and the best ideas are implemented, with the employee compensated.
Difference between innovation and improvement
- Innovation brings about a new idea, model, product, or service.
- Improvement creates a variation or betters an existing idea, model, product, or service.
- Innovation brings about horizontal growth (adjacent expansion), i.e., exploring new horizons.
- Improvement brings about vertical growth (scaling existing product and service), i.e., nothing entirely new is created.
- Innovation requires a project to be executed.
- Improvement requires a process to be executed.
- Innovation is disruptive
- Improvement is continuous
Innovation and improvement must be complementarily executed and appropriately managed to get the best result.
Importance of innovation management
Operation management determines the present success of a company, while innovation management determines its future.
Why is innovation Management important?
Innovation management is the key to a sustainable future. The times ahead will be perilous for businesses and individuals.
The majority of the jobs in today’s market were nonexistent two decades ago, and thousands of new products, services, and models are created yearly. Innovation management is the key to being part of the ushers of the ideas, products, and services that will shape tomorrow.
It ensures an organization maintains or improves its ability to compete in the future. A reliable innovation management system ensures a business stays ahead of its competitors and records a higher profit margin.
An efficient innovation management system will focus on three key areas;
- Establishing the right portfolio for innovations
- Creating a conducive environment for innovative ideas to flourish
- Maximizing the value of innovations
Impact of innovation management on businesses
It amplifies the engagement of employees. “None of us is as smart as all of us,” Ken Blanchard.
Relate the above quote to innovation; human resources are the most valuable assets for any company. Innovation management is required to synergize the combined intelligence of the human resources in any organization.
Implementing innovation management make it easier to instill* a company-wide ecosystem that incentivizes and encourages employees to contribute valuable ideas.
Different systems use various methods in gingering employee engagement. Below are some of the proven methods of sustaining employee engagement:
- Design a gratification system: A proper reward system will ensure the right motivation to develop innovative ideas. The rewards can be in benefits, promotions, gifts, or cash. It doesn’t have to be limited to employees; external startups can be charged with hackathons and competitions to come up with new ideas.
- Develop an effective communication strategy: Build hype around every innovation and acknowledge the brain behind the new idea. Newsletters, emails, posters, and other communique will help create hype. The hype will charge those involved to do more and spur others.
- Fluid conversation on innovation: Create a medium where all the stakeholders in your organization can collaborate and continually brainstorm about innovations. The medium should be mostly online, and comments and upvotes on new ideas should be encouraged.
- Innovation management helps you to identify the best ideas and implement them.
By making it seamless to systemize the process of discovering, developing, and implementing groundbreaking ideas, innovation management helps sort Gold from gravel.
How to identify and implement innovative ideas
Below are some of the many implementable methods of identifying the best ideas and implementing them;
- Ramp up and utilize employee expertise: Human capital development remains one of the most substantial assets any organization can possess. Constantly strengthening employee expertise through training and field experience is essential. Also essential is the need for every organization to utilize the expertise of its human resource. Co-creation tasks and brainstorming sessions are a great way to utilize expertise.
- Capture innovative ideas from external sources: An open innovation strategy can be a great way to crowdsource fresh insights from partners, customers, and other external sources.
- Define a concise idea workflow: Design the funnel every idea must run through before becoming a product or model. Approval gateways and trusted professionals must be assigned to ensure the credibility of the process.
- Innovation management helps to ensure optimum and repeatable return on investment
It is essential to have measures in place to unravel great ideas. Equally important is the need to monitor the progress of these ideas towards implementation and how the bottom line is impacted.
Advantages of innovation management
A well-designed system ensures new ideas are implemented methodically and backed by data.
- It helps in solving complex challenges with simple solutions.
- Assists in responding effectively to unforeseen events
- Helps to stay in competition with the most effective lean and agile startup models.
- Allows organizations to capitalize on the global movement on entrepreneurship
- Helps to keep in tune with the latest technological advancement
- Makes it easy to adapt smoothly to evolving workplace trends and dynamics.
- It helps in responding to increasing and continually changing customer choices and expectations.
- Enables positioning for the maximization of global connectivity.
- Preempt possible bottlenecks
- Impacts company culture positively
Who is an innovation manager?
An innovation manager is an employee or consultant primarily responsible for systemizing and overseeing new ideas, products, models, services, or processes.
An innovation manager is usually trained formally or experienced on the techniques and processes of innovation management.
Innovation managers are required to have experience and expertise in the areas of strategic thinking, leadership, and project management.
What does an innovation manager do?
The job title doesn’t have to be labeled “Innovation manager.” Product innovation manager, vice president for innovation, and chief innovation officer are some familiar titles. Below listed are the critical roles of an innovation manager.
- Oversees the designing of an effective system to foster repetitive innovations
- Creates the strategy and culture required for systemic innovation
- Balance risks against rewards of initiatives based on an organization’s tolerance for risk and its goal and objective.
- Synergize internal and external resources and stakeholders, and harness their input for innovation.
Qualities of a good innovation manager?
A good innovation manager must possess versatility in numerous connective strength areas, most of which are listed below:
-Human resource management
Types of innovation
The four major types of innovation, namely;
These various types of innovation that companies frame their innovative agendas around. There are more types of innovation adopted from these four.
Innovation management course
There are numerous courses and workshops you can attend around innovation management. A number of them have struggled to get the right content structure to help learners, while several others are too academic or scanty and full of unhelpful content. However, there are a few ISO 56002:2019 compliant courses taught by some of the world’s best professionals.
Where can I learn about innovation management?
In this piece, we have tried to cover the frequently asked questions on innovation. If you are interested in, we have designed the most comprehensive online innovation management course. Our online innovation management course is fully compliant with the ISO 56002:2019, the ISO framework guiding innovation management.
Innovation management pdf
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