The roles and responsibilities of innovation management12 min read

innovation manager

Innovation entails several procedures that require time and effort to accomplish.

With all of the operations that it entails, it is only natural for businesses to have a methodical strategy and a point person to manage it.

If you are assigned this responsibility, what role do you play in the success of the organization’s innovation activities?  What areas are you charged with?

Most importantly, how are you going to accomplish your job well?

What is an innovation manager?

An innovation manager is in charge of directing and managing the company’s innovation.

It is his responsibility to look after the innovation engine and keep it going by feeding it ideas and difficulties.

The ultimate goal of an innovation manager is to deliver successful innovation initiatives that provide continual commercial value for the firm.

This entailed a variety of particular obligations, including the following:

  • Searching and analyzing market opportunities with workers, customers, and the market
  • Cultivating innovation culture
  • Promoting innovation toolbox
  • Directing the decision-making process that results in the transformation of ideas into innovative initiatives
  • Developing the expertise, mentality, and capacities required to achieve innovation objectives

Areas that the innovation manager is concerned with

The innovation manager is in charge of the following aspects of the innovation engine:

1. Processes

Processes must be established by the innovation manager in order to extract, organize, and fully implement ideas.

The idea here is to create a long-term innovation system, an engine that will continue to run productively — one that will secure the efficient travel of creative ideas from the funnel to the innovation channel.

2. Management and Organization

Innovation managers must promote and oversee the organization’s innovation initiatives, functions, duties, and responsibilities.

To achieve innovation success, a fully defined and specific procedure must be provided. One that provides direction to the innovation team.

Apart from that, the innovation manager is responsible for overseeing the planning of all innovation programs and projects inside the company, which are subsequently included in their innovation roadmap.

3. Goals and Performance

The innovation manager must understand how to link the innovation strategy to the overall business strategy.

Moreover, the innovation managers should set targets and KPIs that could help the business in accomplishing its goals and objectives.

They must contribute to determining the effectiveness of the innovation initiatives.

4. People and Culture

culture of innovation is primarily the key to creating a welcoming atmosphere for ideas, comments, challenges, and risks that are critical to the success of the innovation process.

As such, everyone in the company must understand the value of innovation and how it may help the business thrive in a very competitive world.

Moreover, employees should be inculcated with an innovative mindset and attitude – an element that allows ingenuity and perseverance to work together.

5. Tools and IT

The innovation manager must identify the best software and solutions to aid in idea generation, management, and basically the entire process.

This is significant, especially given the fact that there are hundreds of such programs available.

One of the most significant processes in the innovation system, for example, is idea management and strategy.

Generating ideas must progress in order to develop good or lucrative ideas that can help to the achievement of the company’s commercial objectives.

The qualities of an innovation manager

It is ideal for an innovation manager to be:

1. Inspirational 

In organizations where employees do not feel psychologically safe to express their ideas, it might be tough for innovation managers to be inspirational, or to be someone who persuades their employees to:

  • Think creatively and outside-the-box
  • Go beyond limits
  • Question current norms despite the availability of better ones
  • Keep daily procedures running seamlessly for a highly productive output
  • Collaborate continuously to stay one step ahead of the organization’s competition in terms of productivity, innovation, and dynamism
  • Participate and engage in periodic training sessions
  • Share their insights

2. Parallel with the company’s innovation maturity level

The function of the innovation manager evolves in tandem with the organization’s level of innovation maturity. If the company’s innovation maturity is poor, the innovation manager should be more involved at every stage of the process.

However, if the organization has a greater degree of innovation, the innovation manager should be more delegating and trusting of his team, knowing that his employees are skilled and knowledgeable enough to achieve the business’s innovation goals.

This is because organizations with a high level of innovation maturity already have established processes that are used to operationalize innovation.

Innovation is ingrained in all departments of the business, and the firm has a well-balanced innovation portfolio that generates positive revenue growth.

3. Results and process driven

Being results-driven as well as process-driven gets things done. As an innovation manager, you must regularly monitor the company’s innovation development.

This includes supervising all the organization’s innovation efforts, projects, and other initiatives that the company has invested in.

You are concerned with both the procedures used to obtain outcomes and the products themselves, particularly if they were completed by the deadlines set by executives.

4. An effective communicator

Effective communication results in coordination, which results in excellent innovation performance and production processes.

To obtain optimum collaborative efforts, an innovation manager should be able to harness the strengths of every member of the team.

Communication is a critical tool in this process to be in sync, leading members to trust one other and cooperate effectively.

As the leader of your organizational innovation, your communication style sets the framework and attitude that accelerates thinking, which leads to new innovative ideas.

What are the roles and responsibilities of the manager in innovation management?

An innovation manager plays the following roles and responsibilities in innovation management:

1. Connecting innovation goals and business strategies

Aligning both increases the approval and financial backing of top stakeholders.

Plus, the significance of the company’s innovation outputs increases as it creates real business value for both the organization and its customers.

2. Building a sustainable innovation engine

As the organization’s innovation manager, you are the person-in-charge of the company’s innovation engine.

This is why you need to define a way of working that suits your goals, objectives, and business needs, particularly with:

  • Ideas
  • Proposals
  • Project
  • Stage gate
  • Design thinking

3. Establishing a culture of innovation

The importance of innovation culture in supporting creativity and innovative performance cannot be overstated.

This type of organizational culture that’s focused on innovation is composed of techniques that promote and reinforce innovation as an important component of progress and growth.

It encompasses all of the structures, habits, procedures, instructions, activities, and incentives that organizations put in place to foster creativity. It recognizes, encourages, and promotes innovation as a key endeavor for success.

4. Communicating about innovation progress and results

It is necessary to share the progress and results of your innovation plans, activities, and projects to:

  • Strengthen and maintain the support of your stakeholders
  • Identify how and where your resources were distributed
  • Evaluate whether time and resources were well spent
  • Establish the foundation for future and additional implementations
  • Prepare plans and processes for scaling up
  • Commend and inspire the innovation team for a job well done
  • Recognize areas where improvements are needed

5. Stimulating innovation campaigns to collect ideas

An innovation campaign is a structured approach to collecting and selecting ideas from a particular group of participants.

All the endeavors you make to implement transformation and generate business value are combined into a singular purpose.

Because of this, you can consistently monitor input, engagement, and returns.

Finally, an innovation campaign is an excellent method to produce and select ideas that can help your business thrive.

This open innovation strategy seeks ideas from a range of perspectives, some of which may or may not be linked with the company.

6. Building a good innovation team and developing a skillset

When establishing an innovation team, innovation managers strive to attract the brightest brains.

These folks may have varying levels of knowledge, but they must be creative problem solvers and visionary minds who like pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box.

Furthermore, innovation managers must assist these individuals in developing the essential skillset to accomplish the type of innovation that the organization requires for business growth.

7. Managing resources, financials, people, and strategy

Innovation managers will present or propose innovation initiatives and seek approval from senior executives for the finances and other resources needed to carry these innovation plans out.

When these fundamentals are handed to innovation teams, they ensure that these assets are dispersed properly in accordance with the business’s priorities.

They manage innovation members and collaborate with them to achieve innovation goals by developing appropriate strategies that could result in innovation success.

8. Finding the best suitable software and tools for innovation

In addition to assisting innovation members in developing the skill set necessary to make innovation happen, innovation managers are responsible for finding the best innovation tools in the market.

These mechanisms have been developed to further aid innovation and make the process as easy as possible.

They may be classified into six categories:

9. Evaluating and improving ideas

Because innovation managers are entrusted with overseeing the company’s innovation engine, they are also the ones who create or decide on the criteria required to effectively analyze and enhance ideas.

Given that these thoughts are coming from various sources, they must be properly examined to see whether any of them align with the innovation goals, vision, and business plans of the company.

As a result, using the criteria and methods of assessment established, innovation managers are to lead the scoring of these concepts alongside the rest of the innovation team.

Questions to maximize impact and success

Now that you know what an innovation manager’s roles, responsibilities, and areas of concern are, it’s time to ask yourself the questions written below to maximize the impact and success that your position plays in the organization:

  • What does the word “innovation” mean to you?
  • How do you define a successful innovation?
  • What might hinder the success of innovation?
  • What does the next level of innovation look like?
  • What can we improve to reach better results? What are our bottlenecks?
  • How can we explain innovation better within the organization?

Learn more about organizing innovation in the company by exploring our innovation ebook today.

It’s a powerful book filled with the basics and the secrets of establishing an innovative organization. Read now to learn more.

Published On: February 28th, 2022Categories: Innovation management

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