Many people equate innovation management with idea management, and I believe that this does great disservice to this emerging field of management specialization. True innovation management encompasses more than just managing ideas. Sure ideas are important, but ideas are the easy part. To me innovation management is an emerging management specialization, similar to human resources that has many responsibilities, including:
Providing a flow of consumer and customer insights
The most satisfying part of my job is extracting and sharing key insights from the world and data all around us, in order to provoke new thinking in the minds of the clients and audiences that I work with and in the minds of those that consume the nearly 2,000 articles already on BloggingInnovation.com. The goal of the blog and of pretty much everything that I do is to make innovation and marketing insights accessible for the greater good. I truly believe that as a society, the better we can get at providing the solutions that people need, the less waste of human and natural resources we will have as a result.
What’s most frustrating to me is that so many people have started throwing around the term innovation, in so many different contexts, that it doesn’t mean anything anymore. As a result, every speech or client engagement has to begin by defining what ‘innovation’ means. Because of the confusion, every organization must define what innovation means for them, what kinds of innovation they are looking for as an organization, and then communicate that out to people. Otherwise, even people in the same organization won’t be able to communicate and speak the same language (or achieve good results). I’m not sure how to fix it. Maybe we need a new word.
Challenge is good. Challenges help to drive innovation. There are a lot challenges in the innovation management arena. In many ways this emerging profession is a ship without a rudder sailing through foggy seas. Everybody is trying to figure out how to successfully innovate, and how to do so in a repeatable fashion. My next big challenge is to do what I can to identify where the emerging field of innovation management is going, to provide new thinking to help the profession grow and gain acceptance, to continue to raise awareness, and to identify new insights and best practices that people will find valuable in a sequel to my new book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire. So, I would love to hear your thoughts on what’s needed in innovation management, and maybe we can all crystalize things together.