Innovation involves a lot of processes that need time and effort to implement. With all the activities that it comes with, it is only right that companies establish a systematic approach to managing it. 

However, how do we establish it? 

In this article, we will discuss the necessary steps in implementing an innovation management system, as well as the elements and phases that it needs to succeed.

Let’s start.

What is innovation management?

Nowadays, innovation has been a constant topic of companies that aim to improve significantly. Business leaders talk about innovation, and most products in the market today are labeled as innovative.

But what is innovation and what does innovation management truly mean?

The word “innovation” is derived from “innovare,” a Latin term that means renewal. Innovation is the process of realizing new products, processes, propositions, or business models to create added value for customers and/or employees.

On the other hand, the word “management” refers to the process of planning, organizing, leading, motivating, and controlling resources to achieve the goals of an organization effectively.

It also includes all the activities that strategize and coordinate the knowledge and efforts of employees.

As a result, innovation management involves planning, organizing, leading, motivating, and controlling resources to realize new products, processes, and propositions or business models to create added value for both the customers and the organization.

It deals with all the activities necessary to:

  • Create new products and services to venture into new markets (and to existing markets as well)
  • Enhance products and services to stand out from the competition
  • Refine internal processes to minimize costs and revitalize the company from the inside
  • Make new business models and develop new sources of income

It involves the formation of innovation strategies and modifying framework conditions to ensure that ideas are generated and implemented into successful innovations.

Innovation management also includes devising innovation culturesportfolio managementinnovation project managementinnovation dashboards, and reporting.

How does it differ from idea management?

Innovation management and idea management are both vital to the innovation process, so it’s no surprise that many people confuse them for one another.

Idea management refers to the process of collecting, enriching, upvoting, and selecting the best ideas, including the management of all the activities related to ideas by using a structured process.

On the other hand, innovation management also manages the overall innovation process, including idea management, which is perhaps why most people are confused with these terms. Innovation management is a big concept, and idea management is a part of it.

The Innovation Management Framework

The Innovation Management Framework shows how you can implement a sustainable innovation system, or innovation engine, within your organization.

Focus on building an innovation engine

Contrary to what most people think, innovation is not just about creativity. Innovating involves a lot of challenges, including asking the right questions, solving the biggest problems, and finding out what the root of these problems is.

Addressing these challenges is what helps institutions come up with a solution that contains a solid business value.

Successful innovations happen as a result of clear and organized innovation systems, like the innovation engine. This engine is powered by innovative ideas and problems and spurs innovation projects.

Meanwhile, the innovation inbox serves as the filter that separates the best innovation ideas from the rest. This is in preparation for the execution process. Note that this inbox receives every executable input of interesting innovations, which makes it a vital point of the framework.

Once an innovation project is to be executed, the information goes to the innovation roadmap where other details of the execution process will be determined, such as when the innovation project will begin and what elements, materials, or technologies it will cover.

Before beginning the innovation project, remember the entire plan of the execution process, including the person in charge and the people participating in it.

What is an innovation management system?

An innovation management system is a framework that guides businesses in reinforcing innovation capacities. It consists of concepts that organizations must involve in their innovation abilities.

It is an internationally known standard for innovation management systems that serve as a reliable basis of terminology, principles, and framework. However, this guiding framework is generic and flexible. It doesn’t recommend particular tools or methods.

Published in July 2019, the ISO 56002:2019 Innovation Management System – Guidance helps people understand what innovation is and how to manage innovation activities successfully.

More importantly, organizations can simply use this guide by itself, modify it, or integrate it with other management systems as a basis for devising their own systematic approach in response to the challenges that they face regarding innovation.

Important Elements of an Innovation System

There are seven key elements that businesses need to include in their innovation system. These success factors are interrelated and are therefore connected in ensuring innovation success.

Here are the following:

  1. Context: The context of the organization refers to the issues (both internal and external) and trends that are essential to distinguish challenges and opportunities that may stimulate innovation activities. Examples of these are internal capabilities, technology developments, and user preferences.
  2. Leadership: The top management must exert leadership and commitment in the organization’s innovation process by creating strategies, policies, vision, roles, tasks, and responsibilities for everyone involved in the innovation process.
  3. Planning: Just like other initiatives and activities in the company, the directions from the top management must be the foundation of all the innovation portfolios, organizational structures, and innovation objectives of the enterprise, along with identified risks and opportunities.
  4. Support: Support refers to all the types of resources that are used in carrying out innovation activities. These resources include time, money, energy, knowledge, technologies, tools, methods, and people with the right competencies.
  5. Operations: Strategies and objectives must be considered in establishing innovation initiatives. Operations concerning innovation should be modified depending on the kind of innovation targeted by the company. This includes the identification of opportunities, the creation, and validation of concepts, as well as the development and deployment of solutions.
  6. EvaluationKey performance indicators must be determined to track innovation progress. These metrics should be used as a basis for evaluating performance and identifying gaps and strengths within the company’s innovation management system.
  7. Improvement: Improvements should be done depending upon the results of the evaluation. Gaps and other issues must be addressed concerning other aspects of the innovation management system listed above.

How do you implement an innovation management system?

Implementing an innovation management system within the organization involves a lot of effort. It might also cause some changes in the company’s culture.

Implementing it involves four phases:

Phase 1: Prepare

Begin by evaluating your present innovation management capabilities. Consider your ongoing innovation activities and other ongoing management systems.

Study the opportunities and challenges in front of you. Identify where you stand in technology trends, competitor moves, and user preferences.

Recognize the changes in your environment and determine where you can position yourself in terms of innovation. Identify your ambition level and the supporting innovation activities that you need to execute your innovation intent.

Phase 2: Implement

Create innovation strategies and policies that search out opportunities for the company. Choose the type of innovations that you would like to focus on.

More importantly, allocate a portion of your resources to pursue your ideas and make sure that they align with your strategy.

Identify the people that will be involved in the process. Establish the metrics that will be used to measure progress and evaluate the results. Follow up on necessary changes and improvements.

Begin with low-hanging innovation initiatives. Establish communication channels and use them effectively. Make sure that everybody in the team understands the entire process. Don’t hesitate to reach out and recognize efforts and well-performed tasks.

More importantly, strive to enhance the competence of your organization and give them all the tools and methods that they need to refine and accomplish their performance and responsibilities.

Phase 3: Scale and Maintain

Create momentum by underpinning top management commitment. Establish innovation portfolios. Commend progress and applaud good results.

Encourage innovation by motivating, engaging, and inspiring more people in the organization, including collaborators and partners. Promote a culture of innovation within the company.

Emphasize in this phase that in every part of the process, the efforts, opinions, and results given by your customers, stakeholders, and even by the organization are valued.

Phase 4: Evaluate and Improve

Assess the overall performance of your innovation management system. Identify which opportunities have you ventured on and determine whether your objectives have been fulfilled. 

Examine your organizational culture and improve the system by modifying it to address the gaps in your strategies and other elements of your innovation management system.

Know that implementing your innovation management system in every phase relies on your dedication, commitment, and competency.

Why do you need a systematic approach when it comes to innovation management?

Managing innovation activities can be very challenging. Nowadays, there is an increasing need for companies to innovate, and because of the evolving needs of users, organizations are struggling in terms of innovation performance.

As innovation transforms business models and organizational cultures, having an innovation management system makes it easier for organizations to approach their innovation challenges head-on.

Moreover, with a systematic approach to innovation management, processes are organized and gaps are identified more easily.

Next steps: Tackle your innovation challenges with the help of Accept Mission. Root out the real problem, discover the best solutions, and develop innovative concepts and strategies.

Learn more about Accept Mission’s services and how we can help you with implementing an innovation management system.