Innovation management has been subject to change since its establishment. Today it is quite different than 50 years ago when corporate R&D units were the source of innovation with their main focus being on technology. These days, we are experiencing a strong influence of digital platforms, with the main goal to integrate innovation management theory with an open innovation environment. Given this, what would be the job of an Innovation Manager in this newly formed order of things?
You may see them holding titles such as Chief Innovation Officer, Vice President of Innovation, Head of Innovation, etc. and it is important not to confuse them with R&D managers. Although R&D is essential to innovation, it usually takes only the technological approach to innovation. To be an Innovation Manager, you need to complement the technological enhancements with the capacity to build projects. The kind of projects that people and corporates can and will support. Innovation Managers are tasked with creating an innovation culture required for employees to experiment with the right resources.
Skills that Innovation Manager should possess:
- Strategic thinking
- Project management
- Creativity and vision
Having these skills will secure your survival, but in order to thrive, you’ll need more than that. Innovation Manager should be able to take initiative, to create processes and procedures for ideation, prototyping, and production - to add actual structure to the innovation.
Ok, that sounds charming, but let’s see what are the practical problems you may encounter.
PA’s Innovation Matters report states that two-thirds of organizations say that innovation is crucial to survival, yet fewer than a third say they are innovating successfully to drive growth and increase revenue. In recent years, a lot of companies worked to reinvent their business processes for the sake of speed and efficiency. And you can see that many of them found that task pretty difficult. Issues that in most cases lead to this situation are slow review processes, too many members in the buying committee, getting everything done with a small staff, rolling out changes to the entire company, etc. On the other side, most innovative companies are treating innovation like any other business process. These companies don’t try to get everything done by themselves. They’re aware that extensive collaboration with partners from inside and outside of the industry is a way to co-create new products and services along with customers. For example, Toyota gave every employee the skills, the tools, and the permission to solve problems as they crawl out, and to prevent new problems before they appear. As a result, they outrun their competition by getting more out of their own workers.
If you, as an Innovation Manager, want to lead the research into future business opportunities that are aligned with corporate strategy, you might consider innovation management software providers. Properly set innovation management processes with a relevant innovation management software can result in a cost-effective and efficient ideation-to-implementation process focused on the core business values. This way, you can enable collaboration, gain control and simplify decision making just like innovative companies you look up to.
Innovation Cloud is used by some of the largest companies in the world, starting from simple all the way to the most demanding, enterprise-level, requirements. Implementing it will ensure the proper guidance of your complete innovation process, as well as the bright future of the Innovation Manager who helped the organization to reach its full potential.