Innovation Management

What is innovation management?

There are many definitions of innovation management. At its core, innovation management is the process of putting something new into practice. Moreover, many good ideas have the potential to positively impact the business. However, they may never get off the ground. Furthermore, this is a huge problem because long-term success and growth depend on continual innovation. Companies implement innovation management to cultivate a culture of innovation. Good ideas flourish and are prioritized, developed, and executed.

Types of innovation

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes and can happen in any part of an organization. Consequently, when talking about innovation management, we are talking about the kind of innovation that falls into four major categories:

  1. Disruptive Innovation: Occurs when you target an underserved, less profitable, customer base with a new offering. The new offering is often inferior to the mainstream offering but has the potential to grow and move to higher-end customers, challenging industry leaders.
  2. Incremental Innovation: A series of gradual improvements to products, services, or processes that can help companies keep customers and stay competitive.
  3. Radical Innovation: A technological advance that gives rise to new industries and business models.
  4. Sustaining Innovation: Responds to customers’ needs and delivers more value to them with incremental improvements to existing products and processes.

Key ingredients of innovation management

There is a lot of discussion around the essential elements of innovation management, but there are a few themes that consistently emerge:

Culture: Companies don’t fail to innovate for lack of good ideas. The problem usually lies with the leadership team failing to create a culture that values innovation by providing the freedom and resources required to achieve it. A culture of innovation values continuous improvement, testing, acceptance of failure, collaboration, and accountability.

Strategy: Innovation needs a clear vision and focused strategy to solve problems and create more value for the business. Aligning your strategy with innovation is the key to prioritizing ideas and allocating resources appropriately.

Structure: The structure is the processes and mechanisms to turn an idea into reality. This includes infrastructures, tools, communication channels, and organizational structures. The idea is to establish business processes that allow an idea to deliver value as fast as possible with as few barriers as possible.

Innovation management vs idea management

Our definition of idea management is a structured approach to generating and evaluating ideas that could help improve an organization’s bottom line. In a product management context, idea management is a framework for collecting, analyzing, and prioritizing ideas to improve existing products or create new ones.

Idea management sounds similar to innovation management because it’s a part of innovation management. Moreover, idea management refers only to the process by which ideas are formed and selected, while innovation management is the big picture. Finally, it includes the ideation and prioritization phase and the implementation, marketing, and measurement of the new initiatives.