What is Innovation Management?

Innovation Management

What is Innovation Management?

Very often, we refer to innovation in totally different contexts. Many experts, in fact, have the habit of using this term to denote concepts that connect to innovation only in an approximate way.

Innovation Management means managing innovation as a systemic and repeatable activity over time.

So, what is the real meaning of the word innovation? In a previous post we tried to define it. Innovation is ultimately about developing added value to existing or new customers.

There are two main ways of doing innovation:

  • radical innovation: a completely new added value is obtained with so-called disruptive technologies. Often this type of innovation is driven by an innovative technology or business model. The goal is to develop proposals that do not exist on the market, find new customers or undertake new initiatives;
  • incremental innovation: in this case the focus is on developing added value for an existing product or service, or a new version of it. Often this involves process-level innovation to produce better, cheaper, faster or more functional products.

The 3 stages of innovation

  • Discovery: in this phase we face the conception, the initiation, the management of ideas, the conceptualization and the definition of a strategy. In the discovery phase, often also referred to as “Fuzzy” Front-End, we work on generating the idea from the beginning up to the selection of the final concept, which should be in line with the organization’s vision and objectives;
  • Development: once the ideas and / or concepts have been generated and selected, they need to be developed. This can include typical activities such as prototyping, testing, market testing or marketing. In this phase the emphasis is on developing ideas into viable products and services and typical activities are those of experimentation, prototyping and testing;
  • Distribution: this last phase involves the launch of the idea / concept developed in a particular market segment, or internally. Distribution is also sometimes called the backend phase.

What innovation is NOT

We have briefly seen what innovation consists of, however sometimes it tends to be confused with other concepts, which however do not constitute innovation in itself, but only a part of it:

  • invention is not synonymous with innovation, its presence can contribute to innovation, it can play a role in the overall process, but in many cases it does not;
  • creativity is not synonymous with innovation, it is part of a set of innovation capabilities, a quality or personal competence required for certain innovation activities;
  • generating ideas is not synonymous with making innovation, even if ideas are part of the innovation processes, as they are the raw materials to work with;
  • research and development is not innovation, but it can contribute to innovation, depending on the organization. There are many organizations that are very innovative but don’t spend money on traditional research and development;
  • patenting is not innovation, but rather a measure of the production of the invention, not as a measure of innovation.

Innovation Management uses a large number of tools and methods

There is a significant number of techniques and tools that innovation management uses to assist the team in the implementation and operational phase. However, none of these techniques and tools, with a few exceptions, are used at all stages of development. Some of them include, for example:

  • Brainstorming: a methodology in which a considerable amount of ideas are generated;
  • TRIZ: a problem solving methodology based on the study of patents;
  • Open Innovation: an approach to innovation whereby companies rely on ideas, resources and technological skills that come from outside, in particular from startups, universities, research bodies, suppliers and consultants;
  • Business Model Innovation: the innovation process that focuses on the business model rather than on a new product or service;
  • Design Thinking: method for applying design methods to innovation management.

The importance of having an Innovation Management System

It is clear that to manage a high-risk process such as that associated with innovation, it is necessary to have a model, or system, capable of outlining corporate guidelines.

An Innovation Management System consists of a set of interrelated and interacting elements, which aim at the realization of added value and provide a common framework for developing and implementing innovation capacities, identifying key metrics, evaluating performance and achieving expected results .

Finally, its effectiveness depends on the commitment on the part of top management and the ability of leaders to promote a culture in support of innovation activities.

The ISO 56002 standard has precisely this purpose: to guide the organization in managing the innovation process in order to generate greater value through both incremental and disruptive processes.

Where to start?

Innovation Management is a complex, multidisciplinary and high-risk process, which on the other hand has the objective of triggering virtuous business processes to improve its competitiveness in the reference market. It is therefore necessary to have an innovation management system in order to structure itself adequately and face the challenges that the sudden changes in the market present to us.

In this sense, the Accialini Training & Consulting team, supported by years of international experience in the aeronautical sector, is able to support you in different ways, depending on your specific needs:

  • training on the methodologies and tools of innovation management in different formats:
    • face to face, at your company;
    • online throughout online classes;
    • in an e-learning asynchronous format throughtout our skills4i.com platform;
    • blended, a mix of previous formats;
  • Support in the implementation of a an Innovation Management System according to ISO 56002;
  • Support to the Open Innovation process through consultancy about technology scouting in a 4.0 perspective;
  • Support in the use of the typical tools of product innovation through our downloadable Toolkit;

For more info, please have a look at our service or contact us to discuss your needs together in detail.

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