Innovation management: creating and developing innovations
Nowadays, innovation is the main development lever for companies. While in the past it emerged from collaboration between the R&D and Marketing departments, nowadays innovation reaches out to a larger field in the company and it requires various competences and a specific management.
We are talking about innovation management to designate “the management of innovation processes. It refers both to product and organizational innovation. Innovation management includes a set of tools that allow managers and engineers to cooperate with a common understanding of processes and goals. Innovation management allows the organization to respond to external or internal opportunities” (Wikipedia)
More important than the management of the innovation process a crucial task is engaging innovation by stimulating creativity at each level in the company and by setting up transverse exchanges within each area involved in the projects.
Creating a favorable work environment
One of the pioneers of creating an innovative work environment is without doubt Google, where they use leisure time to their advantage, where work hours have been rearranged and 20% of the work time is dedicated to the development of personal projects. For example, the same strategy of the “20% as leisure time“ has given birth to the Post-it in 3M.
In France, the Groupe Poult has pushed its innovation management strategy up to establishing a participative process that allows their employees to become the actors in their own professional development.
Encouraged to become independent and to have the initiative, the employees therefore find a favorable environment for taking changes and generating new ideas.
The company also has to direct its innovation management towards the outside, by developing a strategy of structured observation that allows the company to identify market evolution, international ideas and the researches of its competitors.
One of the roles of innovation management is to galvanize creativity in order to create innovative ideas. In order to do that, entreprises can use techniques such as brainstorming, collaborative forums, idea boxes or creativity meetings. In a company such as Suez Environment, innovative projects brought by the collaborators are being rewarded through the organization of innovation contests.
But actors from outside the company can also be completely involved in innovation management and idea creation: for example, by gathering feedback from their clients, Dyson had the idea of creating a bagless vacuum cleaner. Others, such as the Oxylane group, created product co-creation platforms to involve even more directly any outside persons in the generation of new concepts.
Prototyping and testing
In 2013, a study of the Innovation Management Observatory revealed that for 92% of companies, one of the main concerns regarding innovation is being able to rapidly prototype and test the most pertinent ideas. Innovation management therefore has the role of creating an incubation process for innovative projects. As an example a new structure was created inside the SCNF, Lab TGV, allowing them to test new concepts more freely and quickly.
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