Implementing an Innovation Management System

Innovation management capabilities assessment, strategy development, and top management commitment are key for implementing an innovation management system.

Implementing an innovation management system can be a major effort involving organizational and cultural change. It can help to structure the effort in four phases: prepare, implement, scale & maintain, and evaluate & improve.

I. PREPARE: Start by assessing your current innovation management capabilities, including mapping of ongoing innovation activities and other existing management systems. Another important activity is to understand the innovation opportunities and challenges facing the organization, including new user needs, technology trends, competitor moves, and other changes in society and the environment. Finally, decide your innovation intent or ambition-level. What is it you are aiming for in terms of innovation activities for your organization, and why?

II. IMPLEMENT: Develop an innovation strategy and policy that describe the areas of opportunity for the organization, the types of innovations that will be focused on, the resources that will be allocated to pursue the opportunities, the people and teams that will be involved, and how results will be measured and followed up. Start with “low-hanging” innovation initiatives, communicate frequently, create awareness, and recognize achievements. Also, focus on competence development and on providing (digital) tools and methods for innovation managers, facilitators, and coaches.

III. SCALE & MAINTAIN: Build momentum by reinforcing top management commitment, forming innovation portfolios, and by measuring and communicating progress, good examples, and results in the organization. Broaden innovation activities by inspiring and engaging more people in the organization as well as external partners and collaborators. Support all leaders in the organization to foster a culture that is promoting innovation activities. Demonstrating that value is realized for the organization, users, and other stakeholders is key in this phase.

IV. EVALUTAE & IMPROVE: Analyze and evaluate the performance of the entire innovation management system with all its elements. Are you capturing the most significant innovation opportunities? Have the innovation objectives been achieved? Are you gradually building the right culture in the organization? Based on the evaluation, prioritize gaps and improve the system by adjusting the innovation strategy, improving the understanding of the context, re-allocating resources, involving partners, improving innovation measurements, and so on.

Successful implementation throughout all phases is dependent on dedicated and competent innovation management professionals and on continuous top management commitment in your organization.