The specifications for innovation management at European level

The European guiding specification CEN/TS 16555-1 Innovation Management System was published in 2013. The work of ISO is building on the experience from the standards developed by CEN.

The first initiative

The development of a guiding specification for innovation management at the European level started in 2008. Spain took the initiative and approached CEN, the European standardization organization, and a committee (CEN/TC 389) was set up.

Six working groups were initiated covering different aspects of innovation management. The work involved some 15 European countries with national experts from many companies and organizations covering several expert areas such as innovation management, quality management, and management system standardization.

Important choices

Early on, it was decided to develop guidance specifications rather than requirements. This means that the published guidance specifications are not meant for the certification of organizations. Compare with for example ISO 9001 Quality Management System which is a requirement standard.

Another important choice was to use the common document structure (the so-called Annex SL of ISO/IEC Directives) that had been adopted for all other management system standards. This means that the Innovation Management System is compatible, and can be integrated, with other management systems in the area of e.g. quality, environment etc.

What is standardization?

International standardization is a voluntary process based on consensus among the participants. On the one hand, this means that the process takes several years to complete. On the other hand, the resulting publications have a high level of credibility and legitimacy since they are based on the agreement between a large number of interested parties.

First publication 2013

The first and main publication from the committee was the guiding specification CEN/TS 16555-1 Innovation Management System that was published in 2013. The 20-page document can be purchased from several national standardization organizations in Europe (see the list of sales points). Starting in 2020, the European specifications will be replaced by the guiding standards developed by ISO as they become available.

Updated 2020-06-01