Innovation management includes a set of tools that allow leaders and employees to work together with a common understanding of procedures and goals. It enables the organization to react to external or internal opportunities, and use its creativity to bring in new ideas, practices or products. It is a blend of the management of Innovation processes, and change management. It includes workers or users at every level in contributing creatively to a company’s product or service development and marketing.
The life of products or services is getting shorter because of rising competition and quicker launching, forcing organizations to reduce their time to bring the product to the market. Innovation managers must reduce the development time, without compromising on the quality or meeting the demands of the market.
One who is unskilled in innovation management-
- Is not a good evaluator of what’s creative?
- Misinterpret the marketplace for innovation.
- Is unable to choose from among creative ideas which one would work the best.
- May not be willing to accept the creative suggestions of others.
- May be caught up in his/her comfort zone of tasks and ways of doing them.
- Is not inventive; unable to figure out creativity or the process of innovation.
- May finish too soon with solutions and decisions.
- May be a perfectionist escaping risk and afraid of failures and mistakes.
- May not use experiments to learn and amend and may obstruct the innovations of others.
- Is capable of bringing the creative ideas of others to market.
- Has good ability to decide which creative ideas and proposals will work.
- Is capable of managing the creative process of other.
- Can facilitate effective analyzing.
- Can design how probable ideas may work in the marketplace.
Overused Skill –
- May move toward the new and deny the old.
- May favor creative people and underestimate those less creative.
- May overextend oneself in front of others in thinking and planning.
Some Causes –
- Fail to understand the market.
- Can’t interpret creativity.
- Are afraid of mistakes.
- Get it right the first time.
- Too comfortable.
The Map –
Innovation management involves three skills. The first is a total awareness of the marketplace for your products and services. This means being well- informed of what sells and why. What more do the customers want? What characteristics would be most attractive to them? And what do those want who are not your clients, and they don’t find in your products? The second is being able to choose from among many available creative ideas for new products and services, those which are likely to succeed in the marketplace. The third skill is taking the raw idea and managing its growth into a successful product in the marketplace.
Some Remedies –
1. Managing Innovation Means understanding Your Market –
What have your customers done in the past? Which new products were a success, and which failed? What do the customers buy today? What more do they want and are willing to pay for? For those who did not buy your product or service, what was lacking? What do your competitors have that you don’t? What are the known future trends that will affect you? Talk to the planners in your organization for their long-term forecasts. Talk to your important customers. Try to find out their needs.
2. Managing the Creative Process –
You need raw creative ideas for innovation management. There is no need to be the cause for the creative ideas, you need to understand the process. Creative thought processes do not follow the proper rules of logic where one uses cause and effect to prove or solve something. The rules of creative thought lie not in using existing approaches but in changing them, which means shifting from one concept or way of looking at things to another. It involves challenging the present state of affairs and bringing forth ideas without judging them initially. Looking for the most unlikely and unimaginable. The creative process requires liberty and an open and relaxed environment. The creative process can’t be timed. Setting a goal and a time schedule to be creative will most likely freeze creativity.
3. Managing Creative People –
Creative people have special talents, but some problems come along with them. Sometimes creative people have to be protected from the normal processes and approaches of the organization. They need time to think and study the problems deeply, talk with others, look for similarities in other organizations and in areas completely outside the field. They usually think in opposite cases when faced with a problem and reverse the problems. They think in different way. They ask what the most improbable thing is it could be, what the problem is not, what’s missing from the problem, or what the reflection of the problem is. Creative people can be playful and frequently come up with new ideas. Most creative people are not detail oriented, and to manage them, you have to give them space.
4. Getting Creativity from A Group –
Sometimes the creative idea comes from a group, not individuals. When working on a new idea for a product or service, let them come up with several questions. Often, we tend to think too quickly of solutions. In problem-solving sessions, solutions exceed questions. Asking more questions helps people to think carefully about the problem and come to more and different solutions. Have the group take a current product you are not satisfied with and see if a different arrangement would help. Try different tests and trials to find something that will work. Have the group think beyond reach.
5. The Special Case of Line Extensions –
Very few innovations are pure discoveries. They are changes on a theme, borrowed ideas from other areas, or putting old ideas together in innovative ways. Awareness and free flow of ideas increase the chance of new connection. Many innovations are errors. Creative ideas may be closer by than you think.
6. Selecting the Idea –
Creativity depends on freedom early, but structure later. Once the unit comes up with its best idea of what to do, subject it to all the logical experiments and criticism any other option is treated to. Experimenting on creative ideas is no different than any other problem-solving or evaluation process. The only difference is in how the ideas emerge.
7. Develop a Thoughtful Attitude Toward Failure/ Criticism –
Several innovations fail, many new products fail, most change efforts also fail, anything worth doing takes repeated attempts, anything could always have been done better. To increase learning, build in immediate feedback angles. Look for something that is prevalent in each failure and that is never present when there is a success. There will be many errors and failures in innovation. Initially, you may not find a solution. This leads to safe, less than innovative solutions. Many problem- solving studies show that the proceeding trials help in coming up with the best solution.
8. Moving an Idea Through the Organization –
Once an idea has been chosen, you need to manage it through to the marketplace. Designing processes to get the task done most efficiently and effectively is a known science. Consult a book, go to a workshop or ask for guidance from the organizational effectiveness group in your company or engage a consultant. Have the teamwork with you to design the best way to move further. Teams work better when they are a part of how things will be done.
9. Dealing with the Politics –
Sometimes creative ideas are stray until everyone believe they are going to work. In the beginning of turning the ideas into products, resources may be limited. You will also have to deal with many units outside your team to get it done. In most organizations, the best path to move forward is usually not a straight line. There is a formal organization where the path may look straight and then there is the informal organization where all paths are irregular. Since organizations are filled with people, they become all the more complex. The key to being successful in innovation management through complex organizations is to find your way through the irregular paths in the least amount of time while making the minimum noise.
10. Study Innovation Outside Your Field –
Explore and study new products you buy and use. Find out the process that was applied to create it. See how innovation happens from the inside. Write down few things from your research that you can mirror in your ow behavior.Innovation management requires exceedingly different practices. Each idea listed below for fostering innovation is from a different business leader and lays stress on flexible mindset in managing employees –
- Define the problem and then find a solution – what resources are needed, who are the team members, how to inspire them as well as measuring and rewarding success.
- Re-organize often; restructuring encourages the employee to rethink, set high goals and remove barriers.
- Take risks and learn from setbacks; make sure that people are not afraid of downfalls.
- Engage people with diverse skills and talents; this helps in challenging situations.
- Motivate employees to spend time on innovative ideas; give them space to do things and create a positive environment.
- Combine patience and passion.
- Remove negativity and hire people who are smarter than you.
- Create an environment that removes internal competition.
- Coincide business objectives with ideals.
Innovation management has become a formula for growth for most companies. It can drive revenues and profits to new heights. Doing better requires organizations to come out of their comfort zone. Innovation begins with someone being clever enough to sense a new need and then to improve or create new methods and sources to meet that need. Innovation management can be integrated throughout the organization with proper direction and leadership, clear focus, enough resources and competent execution. It involves getting people and the organization empowered to think differently, to be able to take risks, change and challenge conventional practices, processes and the way the business is approached and then to act.