The 3 key elements of effective innovation and technology management
Manufacturing David Probert, Head of the Centre for Technology Management at the Institute for Manufacturing, explains the three elements of good innovation and technology management.
In order to remain competitive in the ever-changing and challenging technological environment of today’s global marketplace, organisations need an integrated approach to innovation and technology management. They need a plan which addresses three interrelated core elements: strategy, system and people.
1. The Strategy
In order to remain competitive in the ever-changing and challenging technological environment of today’s global marketplace, organisations need an integrated approach to innovation and technology management
An effective innovation and technology strategy will need to ensure that the company, after agreeing on a “vision” of what it is trying to achieve, focuses its R&D resources on the right technologies which support the firm’s business objectives.
Strategy development is a complex task that has to deal with many future uncertainties. However, there are tools and techniques which can help: for instance, technology intelligence gathering “scans” the environment and identifies technological trends and changes, while roadmapping techniques align technology management activities with the business strategy.
2. The System
Once the strategy is in place, the organisation needs to build a system to put it into practice. There are five key processes which are central to a robust technology and innovation management system which is also able to respond to the changing environment and priorities:
1. Technology Identification
5. Protection (ISAEP)
The first step is to identify and evaluate threats and opportunities before selecting which technologies to focus on, and then deciding how to acquire them – develop them in-house, buy them from an external source or co-develop through an Open Innovation strategy. Technologies then need to be exploited in an effective way, keeping in mind they could open up new opportunities, which call for changes in the business strategy. A key step is to decide how to protect the IP: sole ownership, shared with partners, Open IP, secrecy – there are many options.
The final element to ensure the strategy and systems lead to results is the corporate culture: clear and effective leadership and people with the right expertise, attitude and motivation can enable change to happen.
No one element is more important than another. The strategy needs to clearly inform the system with what actions need to be performed and how, and both need to take into account the corporate culture and ways to create an enabling environment.
This last element can make the difference between a successful company and one which fails, as selecting and adopting the right technologies will only translate into success if there is a culture which enables and embraces innovation.