Looking for innovation management advice? Interested in setting up an innovation infrastructure, or looking for ways to improve your innovation performance? Searching the internet will give you 14.7 million hits when Googling for “innovation management advice.” What should you be looking for? There are three issues to consider.
You need to consider three issues when establishing or improving your innovation process and output:
- Context dependency
- Multi-tier approach
- Integrated framework
Even when looking for a partial solution or a quick fix of existing challenges in your innovation process, these issues are relevant and need to taken into consideration.
1. Context dependency
It will surprise few to learn that car makers need different innovation management processes than hospitals, as they are manufacturing firms, whereas hospitals are active in the service sector.
- What about consumer banks and law firms? Both are also service firms, but they operate with significantly different business models. A high-volume business model, such as that of a consumer bank, requires a different approach to innovation than a to-customer-order business model, used by most law firms.
The context in which innovation takes place matters, as one approach does not fit all. Most approaches have been developed for high-volume business models, in other words, for car manufacturers. Few innovation management models are available for to-customer-order and complex system business models.
2. Multi-tier approach
The best innovation management approach engages the entire organization:
- Senior management needs to define the strategic direction of the organization and be committed to innovation. Commitment implies making funds available and ensuring that innovation contributions are recognized from a career perspective. Without top-level support from senior management, innovation cannot thrive.
- At the same time, innovation is driven by individuals, as it takes people to come up with ideas and move them forward. In addition, individuals are often motivated by a desire to improve their work. An innovation management system empowers these employees to take action.
- Lastly, the development and implementation of innovations requires teamwork. An innovation management approach should facilitate teams and enable efficient and effective execution of innovation projects.
An innovation management approach therefore requires a multi-tier approach to addressing the innovation challenges and needs of individuals, projects and the organization as a whole.
3. Integrated framework
The three phases of the innovation process need to be taken into account: idea generation, development and implementation. Having an excellent idea generation process is not going to make your organization more innovative if your development and implementation phases are not as strong. Your innovation output will be determined by the weakest link in your process. An innovation framework therefore needs to be integrated, addressing all aspects. In addition, it needs to provide metrics that allow you to analyze both strengths and weaknesses, and benchmark your performance against that of other players in your sector.
Looking for innovation management advice?
Keep these three issues in mind when looking for advice on how to establish or improve your innovation process or innovation center. To maximize the overall outcome of your innovation efforts, each of them needs to be addressed. Even if you only are looking to optimize specific elements of your innovation process, considering these issues will be useful. They will help you address the root cause of your challenges, rather than just the symptoms.
If you are interested in learning more about how to establish an innovation framework that addresses these three issues, or if you are interested in optimizing your current process in order to address each of these issues in turn, please visit our website at www.organizing4innovation.com, or send us an e-mail at: info “at” organizing4innovation “dot” com.
Google search “innovation management advice”
Hansen 2007, Harvard Business Review, The Innovation Value Chain
Moore 2005, Harvard Business Review, Strategy at Your Stronger Hand