Managing to be innovative?

If you have set ambitious growth goals for your business you might ask yourself if you are managing the innovation process as well as you possibly can.  You know that market conditions have changed so what do you do to get a steady stream of new ideas for new products, product improvements and process changes?

The benefits of managing innovation well include: ideas being implemented and used, increased motivation amongst staff, new and revised products and services being developed to meet current customer needs, reduced costs through improved processes and the knowledge that your business is not standing still.

In organisations seeking growth, management has a responsibility for creating the environment in which innovation takes place.  If we take the four classic management disciplines of planning, organising, leading and controlling, innovation management might be described as follows:

Planning

  • Researching sources of ideas from both inside and outside the organisation;
  • Deciding who to involve in innovation;
  • Writing objectives for innovation;
  • Creating policies and processes;
  • Assessing the organisation’s innovation capability, (idea generation, stage gating, testing, risk assessment and implementation);
  • Setting a budget for innovation;
  • Prioritising the areas in which innovation ideas are required.

Organising

  • Delegating responsibility to groups and individuals;
  • Briefing people;
  • Allocating resources;
  • Training people in innovation techniques.

Leading

  • Responding positively to new ideas;
  • Giving recognition to groups and individuals;
  • Being seen to make changes personally;
  • Helping groups and individuals remove obstacles to innovation.

Controlling

  • Monitoring the innovation budget;
  • Measuring the level of innovation;
  • Reviewing key milestones;
  • Assessing and reporting on results.

Growth is more likely if your management of the innovation process optimises the flow of ideas that you can exploit. Why leave it to chance?

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