Innovation Management – Driver for Tomorrow’s Growth

Innovation management – as part of a company’s strategic focus – is becoming increasingly important. Business innovation is one of the most important drivers of competition. Trends such as digitalization require the development of different types of innovations. For example, organizational innovation, process innovation, product development and the introduction of service innovations. The implementation of disruptive innovation or radical innovation is also one of the core tasks of cutting-edge innovation management.

Facing these challenges, new trends in innovation management are emerging: from rigid processes, towards methods such as crowdsourcing, co-creation, customer co-creation and open innovation. Concepts such as lean innovation are becoming increasingly important. In addition, the importance of innovation for SMEs is growing. An important focus is also on the development of the innovation culture and the increase of the innovation capability of organizations.

Innolytics® GmbH supports companies with the implementation of modern innovation management through its innovation management software and innovation consulting as well as consulting for the digitization of processes and business models. The first step is to clarify one of the most important questions: What does innovation management mean and why do companies have to re-think?

What is innovation management?

The course of the innovation process – starting with trend analysis, brainstorming and idea generation in the early phase of innovation – the so-called “fuzzy front-end of innovation” – to the succesful introduction of a new product or service – is called innovation management.

The way innovation management is approached has changed dramatically in recent years. Companies are differentiating between product and process innovations. The management of these two types of innovation is different. It also requires different alignments of the innovation culture and a continuous evolution of the innovation capability in order to promote the implementation of product and process innovations optimally. The study “Innolytics® – Thinking Innovation Management Beyond” and the scientific book ” The Innovation Capability of Companies” describe the basic prerequisites for setting up innovation management.

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Innovation management for practitioners

Innovation Capacity innovation culture

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Innovation management for researchers

Die Innovationsfähigkeit von Unternehmen

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Innovation Management Tools

New innovation management approaches and tools have been established in recent years. Innovation processes such as the Stage Gate Process, conventional idea management systems and the continuous improvement process are increasingly enhanced by methodologies such as Open Innovation, agile project management and collaboration. In general, different innovation management tools are used in different phases of the innovation process:

  • Stage of generating ideas: Various creativity techniques are used. Methods such as design thinking also help in the early stage. In addition, companies often promote the early stages of innovation management through idea competitions and certain forms of teamwork.

  • Idea development stage: On the way from the initial idea to prototyping, companies often rely on social collaboration: teams with different professional skills and thinking styles deepen ideas together by bringing in different perspectives.

  • Stage of idea implementation: In addition to the standard innovation processes, a number of agile project management methods have been established in recent years. For example, in the development of digital innovations, companies rely on methods such as SCRUM. State-of-the-art innovation software supports companies in all phases of innovation.

What is an innovation management system?

An innovation management system describes all coordinated activities of companies and organizations with which the innovation strategy is to be implemented. It consists of three main components: the innovation strategy, the innovation culture and innovation projects.

An innovation management system is aligned with the innovation strategy. Such a strategy determines which concrete innovation goals a company wants to achieve. In addition, search fields for innovation are defined. The innovation strategy and the search fields are defined in the first step.

Innovation projects for the different business areas of a company are derived from this. The innovation projects are implemented with the help of innovation processes, whereby the processes and structures are adapted to the respective search fields. An innovation process for the development of digital business models follows a different logic than a process for continuous improvement or product development.

The innovation culture of a company promotes the efficient implementation of innovation projects. It is not an aim in itself, but creates the right framework conditions for the innovation management system.

In an innovation management system, strategy, projects and culture are interrelated. If the innovation strategy changes, new projects become necessary, which in turn require different structures. Other projects, such as the development of digital business models, also require a different culture of innovation.

The limitations of conventional innovation management

Until today, the concept of innovation management is strongly influenced by process-oriented approaches, which focus on the establishment of innovation processes, the definition of roles as well as goals and measurement procedures.

The so-called Stage Gate process, which companies often use in various variations to manage innovations, provides a clear process from idea generation to implementation using several Stages and Gates. In view of trends such as digital change, static processes often no longer meet the requirements of modern innovation management. The originator of the Stage Gate process, Robert M. Cooper, identified this challenge in 1994 and further developed the concept of the Stage Gate process according to the four F’s concept:

  • fluid and adaptable
  • fuzzy gates
  • focused
  • flexible

In 2014 he defined the requirements for a Next Generation Idea-to-Launch System: “Adaptive and Flexible” and “Accelerated”.

Especially in complex projects such as the development of innovative technologies, processes will continue to play an important role in the future. However, conventional innovation processes are not always sufficient for the development of digital innovations. Innolytics® Managing Director Dr. Jens-Uwe Meyer writes in his paper “The innovative ability of companies”:

The same management methods that lead incremental innovation projects to success may lead to the failure of innovation projects with a higher degree of innovation.

How Innovation Management Supports Product Development, Service Innovation and Organizational Innovation 

A structured approach to innovation management supports both product development and the development of service innovations. Through ideation and creativity workshops, ideas are generated which are then implemented step by step in several stages.

The improvement of processes in an enterprise aims at increasing the efficiency of processes and procedures. This includes the optimization of production processes as well as the creation of a corporate culture that promotes and accelerates innovations.

One of the most effective methods in innovation management has proven to be the analysis of innovation capability: Barriers in the innovation process and in the innovation culture are analysed through a scientifically based employee survey. On the basis of such an analysis, measures can be developed to adapt innovation management individually to the situation and challenges of a company.

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The differences between closed and open innovation

In innovation management, a fundamental distinction can be made between different strategies. Closed Innovation relies on internal resources as well as employees and ideas from the company itself. Closed Innovation is related to idea management and the continuous improvement process KVP. Closed innovation is often supported by idea management software.

Open innovation and co-creation, on the other hand, rely on external input and know-how. The innovation process is opened. The article “Why Open Innovation?” describes the advantages of this approach. Innolytics® GmbH and Munich International Trade Fairs jointly operate an Open Innovation Community: the ISPO OPEN INNOVATION platform, on which tens of thousands of athletes support the innovation management of companies with their ideas and suggestions.

The Trend in Innovation Management: The Use of Open Innovation

The best-known advantages of Open Innovation are the shared use of resources and the inclusion of experience from outside the industry for innovation management projects. This has an impact on many areas and processes in an organization:

  • Time to market: The time from product development to market launch is significantly reduced. This enables a company to achieve competitive advantages.

  • Cost to market: Productivity in research and development (R&D) is increased. This helps reduce costs.

  • Risk to market: The development risk is reduced by joint developments.

  • Fit to market: Information about customer needs is optimally linked with solution information.

Innolytics® GmbH has many years of expertise in setting up an innovation management system that includes both closed and open innovation. The Innolytics® innovation management software supports companies throughout the entire innovation process: from the analysis of innovation capability and structures to trend scouting, the analysis of customer needs and the generation of ideas to innovation monitoring.

The implementation of innovation management software

To simplify the administration of the innovation process, companies rely on the implementation of idea management software and innovation management software. State-of-the-art innovation management software is often integrated into a company’s intranet, supports methods such as open innovation and offers possibilities for collaboration.

The innovation management software of Innolytics® GmbH supports companies in establishing a cutting-edge innovation management system:

  • Search fields derived from a company’s innovation strategy can be defined and communicated.
  • In the early stages of innovation management, search fields, customer problems and trends can be discussed and analyzed through social collaboration.
  • Ideas can be entered, discussed, evaluated and systematically deepened.
  • In the implementation phase, ideas can be assigned milestones, roadmaps and different roles (e.g. responsible person or idea sponsor).
  • Companies can set up an innovation monitoring system in which innovation management experts can keep an eye on the most important key performance indicators.
  • By integrating customers into the development process, developments can be realized close to the customer.
  • The innovation management software supports the establishment and development of innovation networks.
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Innovation management – The services of Innolytics® GmbH

Innolytics® GmbH supports companies in establishing and further developing their innovation management systems and innovation processes. In order to be successful in the market tomorrow, future-oriented companies must go beyond the constant improvement of what already exists. A new, radical approach requires us to identify the trends and markets of the future today.

We support companies in rethinking and crossing boundaries.

Flexibility, new thinking beyond the boundaries of the familiar and a high degree of openness to everything new are the factors for the successful innovation management of the future.

We support companies in rethinking and crossing boundaries

New products must not only be unique, but they must also be brought to market very quickly. The radical innovation approach requires innovation management to completely rethink. Flexibility, new thinking beyond the limits of what is known and a high degree of openness to everything new are the factors for successful innovation management in the future.

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