What is Innovation Management?

As a business owner, it has never been more critical to spearhead change. Embracing ideas to achieve success is about one major word: innovation. Business model innovation has undergone a massive increase in popularity due to technology. Let's take a look at what business model innovation is and why you need it.

Is your approach to corporate innovation failing to deliver the results you deserve? Take a look here to learn about efficient innovation management and how to implement it today.

While most progressive organizations can agree that corporate innovation is essential to ongoing business success, research shows that 59% of company executives aren’t sure they have the right people with the right skills needed to deliver high-quality innovation.

In reality, though, it is very difficult for employees to drive a business vehicle to its intended destination unless they have the right directions and tools. Efficient innovation management is the answer.

In this quick guide to innovation management, our experts will answer your key questions, such as;

  • What is innovation management?
  • Why is innovation management important?
  • What are the key elements of innovation management?
  • How can my organization embrace innovation management? 


What is Innovation Management?

According to Gartner experts, innovation management is a business discipline. It helps create a consistent and lasting innovation process or culture in a company. 

Innovation management can cover aspects of the product, processes, marketing, and organizational innovations. Since the 1930s, it has been considered an important part of business strategies. However, in today's fast-changing business landscape, it has become even more crucial.

While individual organizations must find their own strategies, most businesses implement innovation management to;

  • Create a culture that celebrates creativity and removes the fear of failure while also gaining a company-wide buy-in.
  • Define clear processes that help turn innovative ideas into reality while also allowing intrapreneurs to work on their creations. 
  • Establish an innovation roadmap that also allows for ideas to be found, developed, and evaluated.


Why Innovation Management?

It is commonly accepted that modern consumers are more demanding than ever before, and only truly innovative brands can meet those expectations. Modern businesses must have a dedicated management strategy to fully utilize their teams, especially in rapidly changing environments.

Innovation management focuses on three key stages. Firstly, an employee will introduce an idea (through innovation programs like KICKBOX) to validate their idea. Following this, the next stage is the proof of concept to determine whether an idea could actually work in the real world. Finally, the implementation revolves around determining how to make the project happen.

The benefits of efficient innovation management are plentiful. Some of the key factors include;


  • It helps to identify and implement the best ideas. It does so by streamlining the idea generation and implementation process. Using the expertise and market knowledge of employees is a way to gain valuable insights and new ideas.
  • It removes the hierarchies that often see outdated companies miss out on the perspectives of innovators outside of the C-level decision-makers.
  • Innovators are able to work on ideas without delays - bottom-up innovation has supported countless companies, thus highlighting its capabilities.
  • Innovation management focuses solely on analyzing the potential of ideas and does not create any bias based on who presented a concept.
  • Truly collaborative processes are celebrated. This includes connections to other team members as well as clients to support customer-centric ideas.
  • Faster introduction of new products and faster cycle times to bring updated products to market, which also aids iterative innovation.
  • Managing innovation enables building robust processes capable of generating high returns on investments over the long term.
  • Empowering employees to be innovative by ensuring their inputs are being valued and applied in the innovation process of the firm, increases motivation and encourages employees to start projects that make best use of their skills.


Is Innovation Management the same as R&D?

Innovation management and R&D have similarities, but R&D is just one part of the overall corporate innovation strategy. A simple comparison of the two is that;

  • R&D is a single department within the organization in which new technologies are developed.
  • Innovation management encourages a company-wide strategy where new ideas can be developed by teams across all departments, including the people in R&D.

Innovation management also allows teams to use the company’s existing tech and capabilities to develop new ideas, thus opening the door to incremental innovation and architectural innovation - as well as radical and disruptive innovation. 

An example of innovation management would be a cross-disciplinary team composed of an engineer from R&D, someone from marketing and a supplier. They would use the company’s existing technologies and capabilities to create a new product to sell.


Where does Innovation Management come from?


1. Innovation Management assumes creative destruction.

Economist Joseph Schumpeter pinpointed the need for companies to innovate in 1942. He defined creative destruction as a “process of industrial mutation that continuously revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”.

In other words, companies that do not innovate will be destroyed by the market, making space for the new – hence the term creative destruction. Schumpeter went even further to claim that long-term economic cycles and the wealth of society as a whole depend on technological innovation.

While Schumpeter pointed out the significance of innovation, companies could not just go and do it. There was little theory and even less empirical evidence about what happened when a company tried new things.

In today’s world, even established companies like CSS, have shown that it is important to keep moving. Creative destruction challenges and improves products and processes to keep businesses successful.

2. Innovation Management ascended with the tech industry.

While innovation management is a concept that has existed for nearly a century, the tech sector has significantly changed it. The term was previously associated exclusively with new product lines (diversification according to the Ansoff Matrix),  but has since transitioned to cover processes and organizational innovations too. It also relies heavily on an open exchange of information.

It is regularly proven that a company-wide approach to innovation will statistically yield more ideas. Therefore, innovation management protocols that encourage ideas from all levels and focus on calculated decisions rather than decisions solely made by a select number of innovators deliver the best results.

3. Innovation Management cannot be separated from the internet

As innovation management focuses on openness and collaboration, the internet has unsurprisingly been the catalyst for a new era. It created the Collaborative Innovation Network (CoIN). Examples of highly disruptive innovations created by such innovation networks are the Web itself, Linux or Wikipedia.

Open innovation, group intelligence and innovation networks are ideas that accompanied digital technologies, which is why one could say that historically, the internet is the single most crucial technology for innovation management. Yes, even more crucial than post-it-notes.


Kickstart your Innovation Management with rready's Innovation OS

Innovation management is heavily reliant on the organization's philosophy and collective mindset. However, the right tools are also needed to help employees work both independently and collectively on their ideas with creative freedom while still following the firm’s defined processes. 

Innovation Management also requires you to have the right tools. Tools like rready's Innovation OS, instantly encourage a dynamic approach to ensure that you can achieve your goals. If you want to find out more about how your business can use our tools to achieve innovation, contact us today.

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