There are many ways to define innovation. Some say innovation happens all the time, while others, such as Merriam Webster believe that whenever something new is introduced, it can be termed as innovation.
However innovation is defined, there is no denying that it still continues to be a heated topic. Be it managers, owners, shareholders, or perhaps line managers, everyone is always concerned about innovation. Accenture believes that more than 90% of executives are positive that innovation will lead their business to succeed.
Is innovation necessary?
Can the workplace continue to progress without introducing anything new? Let’s talk about it in detail.
According to Forrester, 53% of businesses worldwide are investing in technology that will aid in innovation. Fifty-three is not a small number. It represents how critical innovation is, and why more businesses need to invest in it if they wish to prosper.
While innovation is a simple term, innovation management can get somewhat technical. Wikipedia defines innovation management as a joined effort by all parts of an organization. To be more specific, an organization has many parts: human resource, finance, marketing, and others. When all of these parts join and aim to creatively contribute toward innovation, it is termed as innovation management.
Why Innovation Management?
Now that the definition is out of the way, it is necessary to talk about why workplaces are dependent on innovation management in the first place.
Think about a vehicle. The vehicle in itself is nothing if even one part is not working. Organizations are somewhat similar. They work when there is unison among the different parts. Therefore, we need to understand here that even when the specific aims of an organization or workplace are different, their core aims should always be the same.
Perhaps Gartner describes innovation management better. They say innovation management can produce what normal processes can’t.
Indeed, through innovation management the whole organization can grow together. When one thinks about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Instead of just focusing on the research and development to innovate, the whole organization, at every level, is trying to innovate.
The biggest mistake an organization can make is to force innovation into a box. Innovation in itself is something that exists outside of boxes. Giving employees a freehand will allow them to think outside of the box. On a side note, delegating power to employees this way will only make them realize that they are important. This will push them to be more creative. Also, since the management is giving them a responsibility to be “creative,” then they will respond with results sooner or later.
On the contrary, imposing restrictions and limitations on them will only hinder their ability to be creative and innovative. Most organizations that suffer from stunted growth are guilty of this crime. They’re trying to look with a single dimension. While innovation allows them to think about endless possibilities at one time.
Results of Innovation Management
Think about it, what will happen in a management where all the employees are trying to be innovative in their processes? The answer is quite simple. That organization will never suffer from stunted growth. Take the example of the pandemic. Since it hit, organizations and workplaces have suffered a lot because they didn’t know how to take advantage of it.
But some organizations really adapted to this circumstance. They evolved with the pandemic and shifted their whole organization and framework according to it. That’s exactly what visionary organizations do. How do they think ahead? Well, by innovation management. When the whole organization invests and exhausts itself in trying to be creative, something or the other is bound to work. Even if nine out of ten ideas fail, at least one will always work.
When employees are trying to be innovative, they coordinate with other departments in the workplace. This will boost communication among departments, as they will need to talk to each other and share ideas. These ideas will often need to be verified from other departments. Effective communication will result in an organization that is inter-linked.
Furthermore, we talked about how giving responsibility to employees and making them realize that their ideas are worth listening will motivate them. Indeed, motivation is a valid concept that needs to be addressed here. What happens when a workforce is motivated? They produce better quality products/services. Plus, they become more efficient. Instead of making more errors and instead of consuming more time, they will actually work harder and better.
So this is actually a win-win situation for both the employees and the higher-ups. Through innovation management, new ideas will spring up and come on to the surface. While for the employees, they will receive financial and nonfinancial incentives because of better ideas and efficient work.
Tips for Innovation Management
Let us get one thing straight, innovation is impossible if all of your employees are working in isolation. If managers really need to bump up innovation, they will need to initiate dialogue and work on communication. They can allow employees to sit together, mingle with other departments, and have casual talks about work. This way, they’ll end up producing an idea that is innovative.
This is how idea generation is done, through collaboration and communication. Employees can never innovate if they are secluded in their cells.
But that doesn’t mean you should force your employees to become innovative. That will certainly not work because ideas come naturally. Especially innovative ideas, they are a product of a calm mind. Telling your employees to bring innovative ideas on the table before the day ends is not a good idea in itself.
Another important tip is to tell them about innovation as much as you can. Tell them how important innovation is, and how big businesses rely on innovation to become bigger and better. Once they realize what innovation is and how it can be implemented, they will be able to produce it on their own.
All and all, innovation management is key for all organizations. Firms have risen to the top in a span of months because of innovation management. Innovation management makes this world go. Thanks to innovation, we are here. If man did not think about creating fire, nobody back then could cook food or seek warmth. Through innovation management, companies can connect their departments and create ideas that leave the world in awe. These ideas might not always be life-changing, but if they’re enough to make the company stand out against its competition, even that is more than enough.