Growth is fundamental for a company’s survival and could not be achieved only with cost reduction or profit increase. Peter Drucker, considered a guru of Management, think that only marketing and innovation are a sources for growth. We know that innovation is fundamental for a business to survive and is the primary source in driving growth. The business environment changes quickly and enterprises need to adapt themselves to changes being able to take advantage from the opportunities that comes. Continuous innovation is needed to maintain a competitive advantage and differentiate from competitors. But innovation and growth must be managed.
Project Management and Innovation for years have been considered as synonyms but, these should be treated as different disciplines. Innovation management refers so to a series of activities needed to “introduce something new” which it means come up with new ideas, developing, prioritizing and implementing them by for example, the launch of new products.
- risk acceptance;
- strategic goals focus since any previous business cases exist;
- creative mindset and business model thinking;
- collaboration among the company’s divisions, both internal and external.
An innovative approach could be linked to change management since a company must change in accompanying transformation needs. Innovation strategy is implemented through projects as a business is used to manage its activity with a series of projects.
Today project managers are involved in business decisions and project one while in the past were considered in the execution on projects responsible only for their delivery. Change management respect to other project management approaches, is the right one approaching innovation. It considers flexibility, technology and is directed to change. A flexible project management approach is required for innovation projects. Problems and mistakes in approaching innovation, derives most of the time, from the use of traditional project management that do not distinguish between types of projects.
Most of the successful innovation companies got few things in common like:
- empower people and let them be accountable and responsible for their work and decisions;
- have talented people on every level of the organization;
- have tools and structures in place for make sure things happened;
- have a clear vision and strategy that everyone in the team understand;
- have focused ideas for the team members.
Talking about innovation management there are some best practices:
- continuous improvement: if a company improve its infrastructure and processes daily, it will end up with more time to focus on value creation as opposed to simply working based on a TO DO list. A mindset oriented on continuous improvement will help in cultivating a culture that is focused on improvement and innovation;
- value creation: creating value for the business’ customers is fundamental and will help in addressing innovation right;
- allocation of resources: any allocations in order to succeed, must take risk and define the right levels of return. Once the strategy is in place, must monitor its progress and always make sure the resources are allocated appropriately;
- share culture and team working: is important to have the right mix of talents and the right culture;
- focus: remained focus is one of the key success factors for creating innovation.