Does your organisation require the services of an innovation manager? Trying to describe the position can be difficult.
Since the functions of the innovation manager are so diverse, it is difficult to rationalise the business case for hiring a dedicated resource. Luckily, in this exclusive series of blog posts, titled The Twelve Hats Of An Innovation Manager, we examine the twelve diverse functions that an innovation manager performs for an organisation.
Hopefully, this series can help you define and rationalise the importance of an innovation manager. In this post, we look at the function of the idea manager.
An innovation manager is an administrator of an entire system of new ideas. To do so, the innovation manager selects meaningful sources of data. Part of this process involves the ability to evaluate sources. One wrong step in the selection process can lead a company in the wrong direction. Care and diligence are required.
Once sources are selected, the manager must also collect, purchase and store those resources in an organised fashion. Like an office administrator organises thousands of digital files or paper documents, the innovation manager has a robust system to organise and keep track of meaningful studies, reports, questionnaires, and other data sets.
The innovation manager is the gatekeeper of the company’s ecosystem of new ideas. He or she must make sure that everyone at the company has a voice. The ideas that an innovation manager further develops must adhere to the company’s culture and vision. All this takes supreme management capabilities to keep track of it all.
Managing ideas the right way
Often, executives at organisations believe their company is innovative. They look around their offices and facilities and see all sorts of new ideas being implemented. However, they may not know precisely how those ideas are being generated or implemented. In other words, they do not manage the ideas to full effect.
In reality, if ideas are properly managed, the entire process – from ideation, design, testing, and implementation – can run much smoother.
A dedicated innovation manager is someone who transforms an organisation’s management system of ideas:
“Unmanaged” Innovation > “Managed Innovation”
Many companies encourage their employees to be independent in their thinking and actions. However, this can often lead to a lack of coordination between different departments and individuals. This can cause duplication of effort and a waste of time and resources. For example, imagine two marketing departments working on separate campaigns. If they are not communicating with each other, they may end up creating similar or identical materials. This would be a waste of time and money, and it would frustrate customers who see the same message multiple times. Therefore, it is important for companies to strike a balance between encouraging independence and fostering communication.
A well-oiled innovation machine is a sight to behold. Ideas come in left and right, and the innovation manager is there to make sure that they all get properly processed. He or she assigns ownership of each idea to different experts, so that no two people are working on the same thing. This helps to keep things moving forward and prevents duplicative efforts. The end result is a coordinated, efficient system that produces results.
Forced innovation is often thought of as a blunt and ineffective way to manage ideas within a company or team. This type of management style relies on a single person making all the decisions without taking into account the needs or perspectives of others. While this approach may seem highly effective at first, in reality it usually leads to frustration and resentment from those who are forced to comply.
An example of forced innovation in action can be seen in the tech industry, where new products and services are constantly being introduced. Companies that rely on this method tend to see their employees quickly burn out due to unreasonable expectations and tight timelines. Additionally, projects frequently fail because stakeholders are not given an opportunity for meaningful input or collaboration. In contrast, more balanced organizational approaches like collaborative innovation allow for more meaningful contributions from everyone involved, ultimately leading to better results and increased satisfaction among employees. So if you're looking for more effective ways to manage your team's creativity and ideas, it's time to re-think forced innovation.
When it comes to innovation and ideation, the role of an innovation manager is absolutely crucial. These managers are tasked with ensuring that all voices in the community are heard and taken into account when developing new ideas. They track new ideas across the company, performing regular polls and surveys to gather feedback from employees at all levels. Additionally, they work with various other departments or groups in order to coordinate feedback mechanisms and create a centralized platform for idea sharing. Through these efforts, innovation managers play a key role in identifying promising new concepts and transforming them into real-world solutions that benefit the company as a whole. Whether it's enhancing existing products, exploring new technologies, or expanding into new markets, effective ideation requires strong leadership and innovative thinking. And there is no one better suited to this task than an innovation manager.
Innovation through politics
Innovation through politics is a type of innovation that arises when employees feel that "it is all who you know" in order to get anything done. While this type of innovation may lead to more rapid progress due to the connections and networks of those in power, it can also be extremely destructive and harmful to team morale. For example, I once worked at a company where internal politics reigned supreme and favouritism was the norm. As a result, talented and hardworking employees were often overlooked or condescended to, while those with more connections or seniority achieved success regardless of their abilities or contributions. This clearly undermined team dynamics and led to widespread resentment among staff as time went by. In the end, the negative effects of political innovation ultimately outweighed any benefits it might have offered, damaging not only individual careers but also overall productivity within the workplace.
Inclusive innovation is about making sure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed. It's about giving everyone a voice, and making sure that new ideas are given a fair chance to succeed. Inclusive innovation is about making sure that the process is transparent and that everyone has a role to play. It's about making sure that knowledge experts, product owners and process managers all have a say in the success of new ideas. Inclusive innovation is about making sure that everyone feels like they belong. And it's about making sure that the company succeeds. So if you're looking for an innovation manager, make sure they're someone who believes in inclusive innovation. Otherwise, you might just be wasting your time.