Dr. Eric Viardot, professor and researcher of Business Policy Department at EADA
In my new book “Evolution of Innovation Management: Trends in an International Context”, published by Palgrave MacMillan and co-edited with my colleague Alexander Brem, I am exploring how companies are coping with the recent trends in innovation. The various contributions to the book identify three major trends in terms of strategy, management, and geography.
First, when it comes to the strategy for innovation, there is an increasing tendency for companies to extend their outside reach through a “collaborative” innovation strategy in order to explore fresh and radical ideas. The innovation network has extended progressively from the internal collaboration to the consumer collaboration, then the distributors and other business partners collaboration, e.g. suppliers; with the open innovation, the network is opened to any willing participants and requires an “open collaboration “strategy. Some authors are even suggesting a fifth ring of “ecological collaboration” when the participants interact with each other and are structured in an ecosystem which and can generate substantial and valuable knowledge to the company. Apple, Google, or Facebook are some of the most visible firms which have managed to create and to leverage an ecosystem of customers, third parties, developers, academics, even regulators, to develop effective platforms to build new applications and solutions. However, they need to prove that this strategy leads to revenue on the long term.
The second trend is that innovation management has now clearly emerged as a subset of strategic management. Companies consider that innovation is too important to be left only in the hands of the R&D department. Innovation has to be organized, managed, and evaluated by the top management of the company.
How firms can more effectively use collaboration to develop and manage innovation is one of the challenges of innovation management. Various contributions in the book emphasize the role of communication but also the importance of an innovative culture and the need for leadership in the management of innovation. At a time where a large majority of companies consider that they do not measure correctly their performance in innovation but they have to, the book offers also new insight about the qualitative and quantitative KPI of the success in innovation management.
When it comes to the exploitation of open innovation, new tools are now emerging in innovation management. They include the use of scenario-based learning, social network analysis, mobile social network management, and communities of practice to support innovation. All those emergent tools are analyzed in depth, as they are opening new avenues for making innovation management more effective.
The third trend which is shaping the future of innovation in business is without doubt the globalization of innovation. Companies from emerging countries have embraced the road to innovation lately with their own cultural background; but they are becoming serious contenders. The book provides notably some fascinating examples of how Brazilian, Chinese and Indian firms are changing the rules for innovating successfully.
In Brazil, the governmental institutions, at federal and local level, have made considerable effort to build an integrated system of science, technology and Innovation which has put Brazil ahead of all the other emergent countries in term of technology innovativeness and intellectual property.
The Chinese innovation champions are confronting the weight of tradition around hierarchy and observance, face and harmony. But in the past, China has been the source of major inventions and there are no reasons why it should not come back to a prominent position in the future.
Indian companies have less support from the government but they can be extremely creative. Their “frugal innovation” model is using limited resources to create low-cost products that are environmentally sustainable and that work for individual communities. In some cases those frugal innovations are even finding their way into the developed market.
Significantly, the innovations coming from emergent countries are taking place in locations where it is most urgent to solve economic, social, and ecological issues. They are paving the way for what is the plain road to innovation management for this twenty-first century: to deliver products and services that are not only valuable but also sustainable.