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Innovation Management

Innovation management is a management process with a goal of successfully implementing appropriate creative ideas. A new or improved product, service or process forms its output.

It requires the expertise of all business areas – manufacturing, marketing, human resources, finance and business strategy for defining the innovation strategy.

It incorporates managing activities related to idea generation, technology development, manufacturing and the marketing of a new or improved product, service or process.

Companies that are good at managing innovation have a well defined future vision along with a strong understanding of their target market. Strong orientation towards technology is beneficial as is innovation experience, production capability and having an efficient procedure in place for transferring projects from one department to the next.

Please see measuring innovation for indicators that are used to measure inputs and outputs of the innovation process.

Large companies that are strong at managing innovation are usually broken down into manageable cost centers, without too many reporting levels. Each unit often competes against the other units in terms of producing solutions.

Companies that manage innovation well are also often people-oriented i.e. have a focus on career development, participative decision making and generally have a focus on people issues as opposed to harder more bureaucratic styles of management.

For further information, you may like to read about innovation at 3M or innovation at HP both being companies that are renowned for their strong innovation management capabilities.

You may also be interested in reading about organizational innovation or innovation software for facilitating the innovation management process.

Companies can develop incremental innovations or radical innovations.

Applied innovation is a method used in a workshop type environment for learning the innovation process. 

Barriers to Innovation

British research conducted by NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts) surveyed over 850 managers found that the following are barriers to innovation, listed in order of importance:

  1. Excessive financial constraints
  2. Lack of Time
  3. Lack of resources
  4. Risk aversion and fear of failure
  5. Organizational hierarchy
  6. Unclear leadership
  7. Insufficient incentives
  8. Insufficient training
  9. Insufficient talent
  10. Lack of autonomy

The same research found the following to assist in overcoming barriers to innovation also listed in order of importance:

  1. Management support and openness
  2. Leaders’ modelling behaviours
  3. Setting up the right team
  4. Autonomy and freedom
  5. Tolerance of failure
  6. Networking opportunities
  7. Dedicated resources
  8. Incentives and rewards

It is important to maintain momentum throughout the life of an innovation management project. Keeping the team highly motivated, energized and enthusiastic can go a long way towards preventing a project from veering off track.

To share risks, costs associated with the innovation process you might consider forming an innovation partnership.

Strategic Fit

The key to the management process is also ensuring that your next, great idea fits strategically with your organization. Poor-fitting ideas can result in additional costs, risks and difficulties. Please see strategic fit for further details.

Quality Management Links

How to create effective teams is a challenge in any organization. is an excellent resource to assist the team-building process, providing activities and a toolkit to enable you to become a team-building expert.

The key to any management process is the ability to manage risks. How often as a manager or entrepreneur do you manage risks revolving around the decisions that you support? is a great site for providing risk management best practices and appraisal skills.

Further Reading

If you like to read more on the subject of innovation and creativity management then please visit the following… 

Creative Management 

Managing Creativity and Innovation 

Management of Technology and Innovation

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