Definition

innovation management

Contributor(s): Mekhala Roy

Innovation management involves the process of managing an organization's innovation procedure, starting at the initial stage of ideation, to its final stage of successful implementation. It encompasses the decisions, activities and practices of devising and implementing an innovation strategy.

According to Gartner, an IT research and consultancy company, innovation management is a business discipline that aims to drive a sustainable innovation process or culture within an organization. Oftentimes, these innovation management initiatives utilize a disruptive method of change to transform business.

In the age of digital transformation, organizations are faced with the need to innovate more and innovate quickly. Innovation drives business growth and helps organizations stay ahead of their competitors. Innovation management helps in generating new business models and creates new products, services and technologies designed for the changing market. Proper innovation management also boosts customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

Innovation management methods

Broadly speaking, innovation can be incremental, breakthrough or disruptive.

  • Incremental: In an era where businesses are required to constantly reinvent themselves, incremental innovation helps them thrive by constantly improving current products, services, processes or methods.
  • Breakthrough: A breakthrough innovation refers to technological advancements that can boost the level of a product or service, within an existing category, ahead of its competitors.
  • Disruptive: Disruptive innovations are ideas that are capable of radically changing the market behavior after being implemented.

Achieving innovation management success

For innovation management process to be successful, it is essential that the company support an innovation culture and make employees feel valued. This will encourage employees to generate quality ideas in return.

Organizations today are leveraging collaborative technology like social networking to get feedback, which helps in generating a steady stream of ideas from stakeholders both within and outside the company.

To make innovation management a routine part of business, many organizations follow a disciplined and cyclic approach. Ideation is the first step to innovation and incentives and feedbacks help encourage a steady flow of ideas. The next step in a well-managed innovation process is to identify the most valuable and viable ideas. Companies can then move forward to create prototype products based on the shortlisted ideas and implement them to see how they work. In the final step of full implementation, it is important to evaluate the outcome to see whether the desired business goals were met once the ideas were implemented.

Innovation Cycle Management

It is also necessary to engage the C-suite in discussion about innovation management to make sure that the ideas generated are in line with business goals. Organizations are also increasingly looking for innovation managers, who are equipped with specific skills, to drive innovation and oversee the innovation management process.

This was last updated in July 2016

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