Creative problem solving within an organization can improve productivity and profitability, as well as reduce costs. A culture of innovation within and beyond the research and development team has the potential to create real benefits for a business. For strategic creativity, an innovation management system is essential.
Innovation management is a broad term that encompasses different methods and tools for different companies. At its core, the practice of innovation management includes planning, organizing, and overseeing innovation, from automation in HR to brainstorming in R&D. The innovation management process encompasses the entire innovation cycle. Identifying trends, analyzing the competitive landscape, encouraging ideas, overseeing development, and managing a company’s IP portfolio are all functions of innovation management.
Methods of Innovation Management
An innovation management system may be designed to encourage creativity within R&D specifically or champion a company-wide culture of innovation. Regardless of your organization’s innovation-related goals, strategic innovation management utilizes existing knowledge and creativity. To take advantage of these readily available assets, an organization must build a structured process for innovation.
Build a Framework
A framework, rather than strict rules, should guide an organization’s innovation. In 2019, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) established ISO 56002 to help businesses establish frameworks for innovation. The general guidance and standardized terminology on innovation management systems give organizations a starting point for strategically encouraging creativity. As stated by the ISO, these standards encourage businesses to “integrate innovation into all the layers of the organizations in order to seize and create opportunities for the development of new solutions, systems, products, and services.”
Establish Clear Communication
In order to drive innovation, a framework must include goals “clear enough to align team members, and also loose enough that team members have autonomy in how to reach those goals.” These goals must be clearly communicated with all stakeholders, from inventors to marketers.
Sharing goals is only the beginning of clear communication throughout the innovation process. Leaders responsible for encouraging creativity must delegate tasks in a way that balances the challenge of the task with a team’s skill level. Throughout the innovation process, collaborative communication is also essential. Collaboration within a team, organization, or partnership—during ideation, research, development, feedback, and monetization—leads to more creative culture and better outcomes.
Encourage Bold Creativity
Incremental improvements to any business function, from accounting to logistics, may actually get in the way of bold innovation. There is a real business risk of failing to innovate and stay ahead of competitors. While it can feel counterintuitive, in order to truly encourage innovation it has to be okay for your employees to fail. Google’s employees are encouraged to succeed about 60-70% of the time. When it’s okay to fail the remaining 30-40% of the time, there’s less of an incentive to “play it safe” and more room for big ideas.
Guided by Strategic Insights
An innovation management system, like any other business initiative, cannot be deemed successful without a way to measure outcomes. It’s important to measure innovation in innovative ways; when choosing performance indicators, identify metrics that give you real insight into the impact of strategic creativity.
Just as innovation management touches each piece of the innovation cycle, so should your evaluation and analysis of the process. Utilizing reporting designed to map the competitive landscape and identify innovative ideas can guide your innovation management framework. To help leaders and inventors identify market disruption and opportunities for innovation, turn to InnovationQ®. Throughout the ideation process, your inventors can rely on the feedback of a Technology Vitality Report to effectively allocate R&D resources on their most novel ideas. For a deep dive into the overall success of an ongoing innovation management program, uncover innovation intelligence with our Portfolio Intelligence Report Service.