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A model for innovation management

Paper presented at the Third ACCID and APC Conference.
University of Girona. May 30th, 2014.

In the management of companies and organizations are ideas that matter and not the models. Models are simplifications of reality that serve to reduce the complexity and transmit knowledge or experience which must then be adapted to another reality.

Innovation process 2 en

However, they are useful, not because they offer universal solutions to the specific problems of each company, but to the extent that facilitate the explanation of a complex reality, facilitate the sharing of experiences of other cases, and also implementation processes.

Therefore new models arise continuously and many variations. In management models, what counts is what we do with them, rather than the model itself.[1]

The innovation process

Innovation is not the result of genius, chance or luck, it is a process. A process that can be designed, implemented and improved in all businesses and organizations. And a process that, as such, companies must be prepared to manage.

If well managed, favours the creation of an “innovation culture“. It’s a measurable process that covers the entire organization with all areas of the company. Obviously, there are innovations that have emerged from a moment of genius, but it is most certain that most, especially those that have proven important in society, are the result of research, exploration, risk, and seeking opportunities, i.e. an innovative culture that only occurs in very specific situations.[2]

First, before embarking on the exciting journey of bringing ideas and concepts to real life, it is important to distinguish between invention and innovation.[3]

An invention would be something that is unknown so far, usually based on a finding whether scientific or technological.

An innovation is the use of this new knowledge or technology to a real application. Something that serves people or to the community.

Innovation can mean a radical jump in business, something that the market has never seen before. Or it can be kind of incremental, i.e. it has taken an existing concept or idea and improves it, typically using a process of stages and developmental phases, leading to a new commercially viable product.

Innovation is also a process of project management that are turning ideas into concrete projects and a process of program management of projects in the form of continuous flow, representing a funnel that optimize the resources needed to carry to completion. It should be an “open” process, i.e., that no barrier can limit or prevent the flow of ideas and participation in projects.

Innovating in an open process, is favoured by the interaction of as more knowledge and skills as possible. Moving from a basic idea or concept to a useful and commercially available product is a very rewarding job, but involves managing this complex process well. High degree of acknowledge and understanding, being able to navigate through it with the resources available, can mean the difference between success and failure.

The management of innovation

The model presented is based on experience and practice collected from companies. Serves to improve the management of innovation.

The management of innovation is considered a management process directly linked to the strategy of each company and according to their vision and concrete values. It is an open process and therefore an open innovation model.

The process facilitates management decisions at the right time and allows the company to grow and endure over time. The management of innovation is aligned with the management process and its continuous improvement through the use of measures and indicators.

It is a process which is divided into different stages of review. Experience with this model has served, at the same time, to develop an assessment tool, to evaluate maturity of innovation management and the capacity to innovate in companies and organizations.[4]

The scope of innovation encompasses not only the development of new products, but also the development of new processes, management initiatives and market positioning of the generation of new concepts and platforms, sometimes based on new paradigms.

The article also discusses the influences and relations that an open innovation process has with the “extended innovation chain” and “innovation networks“.

Extended innovation chain comprises from the creation of new knowledge and technology to launch or apply something new in a sector of society or the market. Therefore includes non-business actors, but these are, in a process of open innovation, equally important to consider, such as universities, institutes of technology, research centres etc. both private and public or mixed.

The importance of innovation networks is the connexion, which is not just from one company to another, but also about building effective linkages within the national innovation system. Government policies to support innovation are increasing, sometimes more or less effectives or nulls.

The aim should be to enable a better connection between the elements, for example, among the many small businesses with technology needs, and the major research centres, universities, institutions, etc.

[1] Steven ten Have et alt. Key Management Models. 2003. ISBN 0-273-66201-5
[2] Peter Drucker. The discipline of innovation
[3] The Innovation Process. CPI (UK) May 2013.


Francesc Guell is the owner of this site. He was CEO and director of international companies in specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The last 12 years was associated with international consulting groups, providing advice and support to businesses on topics such as innovation and agile innovation processes, operational excellence, knowledge management, change management, strategy and integrated business management. Currently creates and presents courses and workshops on these topics. He graduated as a chemical engineer, postgraduate from ESADE Business School in Business Administration and Master in Knowledge Management. He participated in numerous programs, seminars and ESADE, IESE, EADA, APD and MCE (Management Centre Europe). He is author of articles, presentations and courses on innovation in strategic management, integrated business models, knowledge management, performance measurement, change management and excellence in business processes. See more in: Professional Profile