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Setting up innovation management – 9 questions you should ask yourself

So you want to set up a professional innovation management

Many companies have established an innovation management in recent years. That doesn’t mean everyone needs it. But many organizations have gained a lot of experience. Experiences that can help you avoid repeating the mistakes other companies made. But what actually is innovation management? And how can you set up successful innovation management? These and other questions that you will sooner or later ask yourself:

1. Aren’t Innovation and Innovation Management all the same?

Many companies start their journey into innovation management by hiring an innovation manager. In the hope that someone will finally implement the many existing ideas. And in the hope that the other employees can now go about their day-to-day business in peace. But they quickly realize: The innovation manager doesn’t do the innovation work at all. Rather, she is now chasing employees with innovation topics and keeps them from doing their daily business. That is, because she knows that creating innovations needs cross-functional teams to closely collaborate.

Tip: Don’t expect innovations from your innovation manager. In any case, marketing, product management, product development, production and sales will have to contribute actively on create innovations.

2. What is Innovation Management?

Innovation Management is the targeted planning, promotion and control of innovations. Innovations being novelties which are successful within their target audience. Each organization answers for itself what exactly an innovation is and what is not. The two aspects of novelty and market success are always in common.

Tip: Once again, because it is crucial: Innovation Management does not create innovations. Innovation Management can only enable, accompany, support and specifically challenge the actual innovators.

Professional Innovation Management

You want to continuously create innovation success? Put an end to the frustration of idle ideas! 

3. What characterises professional Innovation Management?

Professional innovation management ensures that companies achieve their innovation goals. And with as manageable an effort as possible. In addition, professional innovation management provides clear indications of whether the company is on the right track. And whether the company can actually achieve its goals or whether it needs to take countermeasures.

Tip: You can recognise professional innovation management by the fact that a lot of innovation success is achieved with little effort. Innovation success is defined in a way that makes sense for your company.

4. What Goals do you want to achieve with Innovation?

Innovation is not an end in itself. Organisations drive innovation for very different reasons. Mostly, it is about differentiation and a unique position in the market. To always be one step ahead of the competition. Often, the positive image as an employer is also a reason: companies that are innovative find it easier to attract highly skilled workers. Employee satisfaction, social contribution, drifting into commodity business or various other reasons also motivate companies to drive innovation.

Tip: If you don’t have a goal, directions are a waste of time. A good goal is either a clear vision or a burning problem. The first goal clarification must clearly come before innovation management.  An innovation consultancy will help you to get your goals clarified.

5. Do you really need professional Innovation Management?

Innovation management is also not an end in itself. Only those who are not satisfied with their innovation successes need to establish innovation management. Often these are organisations that want to produce innovations on a regular basis. For example, to continuously rejuvenate their own product or service portfolio with new offerings. Or to offer employees room for creativity, or to promote innovation for idealistic reasons.

Tip: Are you wondering whether you need professional innovation management? Then your pain is not big engough and you probably don’t need it. A few tangible innovations might be enough.

6. How much Innovation can your Company handle?

Those who deal with innovation for the first time like to dream of legions of creative employees. All employees are innovative, contribute their ideas, work independently to implement them and creativity bubbles up everywhere. The reality, however, is different. In daylight, an organisation can only handle a very small number of innovations. Even a single, genuine innovation sometimes stretches companies to the limit. Hundreds of such projects can almost never be successfully managed.

Tip: Calculate one person-year to develop an innovation to decision maturity. Then calculate the cost of a complete standard product development.

7. What are the Building Blocks of professional Innovation Management?

Every innovation management needs to cover the 9 fields of action of the innovation system. Among them are innovation strategy, innovation process, innovation culture and some other elements. Depending on the initial situation, some components are more or less relevant. Industry, technology and corporate culture also play an important role in prioritisation.

Tip: The first building block is never (!) the innovation culture! The first priority is always a valuable offer for your customer. We call this a pilot project, lighthouse project or show case project. All other building blocks come later.

8. Who is responsible for Innovation in the Company?

Is it product development? Is it quality management? Or perhaps the human resources department? Ultimately, innovation is the very own responsibility of management. One can only wish for entrepreneurial thinking from one’s employees. However, the management responsibility to continuously have suitable and economic offers for the market cannot be shifted to the employees.

Tip: Put innovation management on the same level as development, product management, production and sales. This is the best way to achieve cross-functional cooperation.

9. What are the first Seps in establishing professional Innovation Management?

A common understanding in corporate management of what “innovation” means and what innovation goals the company is pursuing. Those are necessary first steps. The next step is the creation of lighthouse innovations or showcase innovations. Only company-owned, genuine innovations allow the organisation to learn from the real object. It is important to find out what innovation management needs to master, what already works well and what definitely cannot work.

Tip: Launch two lighthouse projects in parallel. Innovation always involves a residual risk. If your only show case topples, then the topic of “innovation” is burnt for the next 5 years. Just say “innovation” once more and people will be chase you away.

Immediate Help for Innovation

Establish professional innovation management – Create innovation success with less effort than you think!

With TOM SPIKE, B2B companies create innovation successes. With or without innovation management. From many years of cross-sector experience in industrial and technology companies, we know what works and what does not. The consulting approach of the innovation consultancy TOM SPIKE focuses on innovation success that starts from open market needs and leverages the power of the company. Focus is the most important aspect here. Because innovation success does not happen by chance or by the way. Call us at +49 30 89 64 72 09 to advance innovation in a targeted way.

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