Creativity and innovation management: How to manage innovation?
Bill Clinton famous motto “It´s the economy, stupid” was coined as focusing on the important issues of a situation. In the presidential campaign of 1992, the incumbent president Bush was relying on external politics with the American success in the invasion in Irak in 1991. He lost because his underdog adversary had identified and advocated for a different and more important priority, the economic recovery. We are now facing the same situation when considering the management of innovation.
For the last 5 years at least, innovation has been one of the top priorities for companies’ executives and chief marketing officers as well as an important topic in management research. However, the focus of both practitioners and academics has been mostly on how to connect with external stakeholders in order to find new sources for getting ideas, developing prototypes faster or more simply, and finding new business models.
Concepts such as “open innovation “, “networked innovation” , “design innovation”, or “lean innovation” for example have emerged and are now mainstream in the academic literature about innovation management. At the same time, some companies have shown an extraordinary ability to open their innovation process to external partners—suppliers, distributors, customers, even individual volunteers or members of social communities.
Some companies have shown an extraordinary ability to open their innovation process to external partners
In other words, the emphasis was on the upstream activities of the innovation management process and specifically about how to obtain as well as to integrate new sources of innovation beyond the traditional and internal R&D function.
Thinking about the market success
The adoption of innovation by the market with the downstream activities of the innovation process, specifically marketing and commercialization, had attracted little research. For example, customers were considered mostly as one additional source of innovation among others, through the interaction process of co-creation, more than a key component of the commercialization of innovation.
It is not enough to have good new ideas: any innovation must foremost be adopted by the market
But this situation is changing now. Indeed, companies and governments have realized that they have probably been focusing on the wrong priority as more than 90% of innovations are still failing to be successful on the market and profitable.
It is not enough to have good new ideas: any innovation must foremost be adopted by the market. Without market success, an innovation is just a useless invention whose failure will dent the profitability of the company which is selling it or will even lead it to bankruptcy. And at the same time, employees, suppliers, etc. must be informed and convinced as well that the innovation is a win for them.
Turning point in innovation policies
As a consequence, there is now a drastic swing in priorities and interest in the management of innovation. The European Union for instance has been considering shifting its priorities in order to stimulate innovation, by making the adoption of innovation one of its 10 priorities in its new Research and Innovation Programme from 2014 to 2020, named Horizon 2020. Similarly, the importance of strengthening the adoption innovation at the level of the consumers is illustrated by the recent emergence of the conceptual model of Quadruple Helix Innovation where citizens are added as a fourth element to the more traditional combination of partnership for innovation between the industry, the government, and the universities.
Large companies such as Intel or Rolls Royce have put the sucessful adoption of their innovations on the top of their priorities
Those conceptual evolutions are strongly encouraged and put into practice by some very large companies among them Intel or Rolls Royce which have put the successful adoption of their innovations on the top of their priorities. Hence, there is now a renewed interest in the marketing of innovation and especially in the adoption of original products or services, because one important function of marketing is to contribute to the adoption of innovative solutions by potential customers, which can be consumers or organizations.
My latest book Adoption of innovation. Balancing Internal and External Stakeholders in the Marketing of Innovation, co-edited with my colleague Alexander Brem, offers various and fascinating perspectives about how to accelerate the adoption of innovation with the contributions of numerous specialists in this field. Thus this article is the first of other article to come where the readers will find more about how to facilitate and stimulate the adoption of any innovation.
Post written by Eric Viardot