Innovation Management – Six Crucial Steps

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

Six Crucial Steps

a) Immediate action. All existing products are on the road to maturation, competitors are hungry, you have to keep moving just to maintain market share, technological change is not getting any slower; you need to have at least the processes for adaptation in place.

b) Better value from data – rigorous analysis helps identify the right problem. Time on problem identification should at least match time on idea generation.

c) Idea generation requires a large number of people, a large number of diverse people and a large number of novel people. A large number of competencies, a large cross section of stakeholders and good leaders who know how to maximise creative output. All the elements of people productivity apply.

d) Idea selection requires a large cross section of stakeholders. The Economist (2003b) states that 3000 bright ideas are needed for 100 worthwhile projects, which in turn will be winnowed down to four development programmes for new products. And four such development programmes are the minimum needed to stand any chance of getting one winner. Requires good due diligence.

e) Good ideas have still to be reduced to the only the great ideas – refine the processes of development: stage gates, experimentation, tinkering, prototyping, designing and redesigning. Requires good due diligence.

f) Commercialisation – requires a large section of stakeholders to be involved.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

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Kal Bishop, MBA


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