Innovation management involves the process of managing the innovation procedure of an organization, beginning in the initial phase of ideation, until its final stage of successful implementation. It covers the decisions, activities and practices of the development and application of an innovation strategy.
An IT research and consulting company, innovation management is a business discipline that aims to promote a process or culture of sustainable innovation within an organization. Often, these innovation management initiatives use a disruptive method of change to transform the business.
In the era of digital transformation, organizations face the need to innovate more, and more quickly. Innovation drives business growth and helps organizations stay ahead of their competitors. Innovation helps generate new business models and creates new products, services and technologies designed for the changing market. Proper management of innovation also increases customer satisfaction and employee participation.
In general terms, innovation can be incremental, revolutionary or disruptive.
Incremental: In an era where companies are forced to constantly reinvent themselves, accelerating innovation helps them thrive by constantly improving current products, services, processes or methods.
Revolutionary: An innovative innovation refers to technological advances that can increase 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 market behavior after being implemented.
For the innovation management process to be successful, it is essential that the company supports a culture of innovation and that employees feel valued. This will encourage employees to generate quality ideas in return.
Organizations today are taking advantage of collaborative technology, such as social networks, to get feedback, which helps generate a constant flow of ideas from stakeholders, inside and outside the company.
To make innovation management a routine part of the business, many organizations follow a disciplined and cyclical approach. Ideation is the first step towards innovation, and incentives and feedbacks help foster a constant 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 prototypes of products based on pre-selected ideas and implement them to see how they work. In the final step of the full implementation, it is important to evaluate the result to see if the desired business objectives were met once the ideas were implemented.
It is also necessary to involve management in the discussion on innovation management to ensure that the ideas generated are in line with the business objectives. Organizations are also increasingly looking for innovation managers, who are equipped with specific skills, to drive innovation and supervise the innovation management process.
Here’s an example:
When Sykes Enterprise Inc. set their sights on capturing and cultivating innovation as the means to accelerating their growth, the built a strategic bridge thinking and imagination so that they could deliver new possibilities
Sykes applyed new ways of thinking about traditional growth strategy challenges. After about six weeks of detailed market and customer needs analysis, they prepared an “innovation workshop” with the goal of generating disruptive business models based on unmet customer needs and evolving industry trends. For the first time in Sykes’ history, a diverse group of future innovation champions from across the company had the chance to engage in what the CEO described as, “top-of-mind, free-wheeling innovation.”
Sykes team members defined, and then prioritized, business model opportunities in key priority industry segments. Recommendations from the workshop led to organizational restructuring, new leadership appointments and investment in a training facility, to name a few.