Consulting | Innovation management

How the new comes into the world

  • Everyone can be creative. Use the creative potential of your employees!
  • Ideas often arise by chance, but also from structured and professionally moderated work.
  • This is how you implement successful innovation management in your company.

Innovation management encompasses more than the invention of new products. The new “product” can also be a new process, a new structure, a new service, a new market positioning or something “different new”.

A structured flexible process

You can’t always wait for innovations to emerge by chance. Innovations can be made possible and promoted with an orderly process. This process is often not fixed, but takes place in a number of detours, junctions and some return journeys. And often it is also a result of hard work and overcoming resistance and doubts. This also raises the question of how to organize active participation and create an innovation-friendly culture. You will find a picture of this process in our ‘flow innovation mesh’.

We will show you how to introduce structured innovation management – from actively “pushing” ideas to testing and adapting models and prototypes.

The innovative process

There are many new ideas, but which are really helpful, effective or successful? And which of these “good” ideas are also successfully implemented and thus become a real innovation? There are many ways in which innovations come out, some of them are unplanned and surprising. But if you’re just waiting for someone to “accidentally” have a good idea and then implement it with the necessary resources, you have to be very lucky.

It is better to exert an active influence with the help of the innovative process. The ‘flow innovation mesh’ illustrates this process vividly. We can start at different points. Often a challenge is described first before a possibility emerges from which something new can be developed.

The core of the innovative process is the repetitive cycle of creating a ‘model’ of an idea, which is tested and adapted after testing. Then the model is corrected or extended and tested again etc. It is a trial-and-error process. This is sometimes laborious, with many loopbacks, but at the same time easy to control.

Innovation Mesh

flow innovation mesh

flow innovation mesh: more information
Dimensions of innovation

Three dimensions of innovation

Innovation: Always a product?

When it comes to innovation, most people think of things – new smartphones, new means of transport, new coffee makers. When we think of “innovation”, we also think of processes, procedures, business models, organizational cultures and restructuring. Christopher Columbus certainly discovered something new (although not the sea route to India) – so fundamentally new that it shaped the following centuries. But it was not a product.

In determining the concrete challenge, three dimensions need to be clarified. In the target function, you describe what you want to achieve with the innovation. Then define the type of innovation. Is it a technical, organizational or social innovation? Or is it a new business model? With the degree of innovation you describe how “new” the innovation should be. Should existing ideas or solutions from other areas be adapted or should a market innovation be developed?

Innovation and culture

“We don’t have the culture to think so innovative and lateral.” This is what we get from companies from time to time. Is it a lack of willingness to take risks or is it the unusual that breaks normal routines? Perhaps it is the fear of confessing the old routine made us stood still? The reasons for a reserved attitude towards a structured and strategically intended innovation management are varied like companies and their active employees.

To want to change all this before innovations are consciously tackled – this leads to an artificial dry practice without immediate benefit. For this reason, working on culture is part of a successful innovative process. The four-field matrix shows what is needed to create an innovation-friendly climate.

One possible way to develop a culture of innovation is to introduce a digital think tank. We will be happy to explain to you what needs to be considered. Please also read our project reports.

Digital Think Tank

four fields matrix flow

Four field matrix

Grafik: Promoter Quadriga Innovation

Promoters of innovation

It doesn’t work without promoters

Experience shows that there should be promoters on several levels for the development and implementation of new ideas, like people who develop their own initiative, who enjoy innovation and who are there with the corresponding energy. The power promoter has the appropriate connections in the organization to overcome resistance. He can ensure that the necessary resources, whether time or money, are available. The professional promoter is the “inventor” who designs ideas, researches and develops alternatives. The process promoter knows the structures in the organization well and ensures, for example, that other departments are involved or that conflicts of objectives are considered. Finally, there are people who have good external contacts, e.g. with other companies, associations, partners, customers or suppliers. We call them relationship promoters.

Find these promoters, enable them and give them a protected framework in which they can work. An example of this is the establishment of a “Digital Innovation Tank” which is installed of employees from your company; from all areas, across all hierarchical levels. You are welcome to read our project reports.

Tools of innovation management

Let us gradually test the culture of the new with a step-by-step introduction to innovation management. Give yourself and your employees the opportunity to befriend with innovation management. On the basis of initial challenges, we can venture into innovation management.Gradually and faster than you will assume the processes and tools of innovation management become part of your daily work.

The best innovation management is the habit of doing and struggling for the new – the best innovation is the unusual idea that comes into the world.

The ISO standard 56002 shows the areas that have to be considered when establishing an idea management system.

Innovation Management System

ISO 56002 Guidance on Innovation Management

Finding or contributing ideas

What framework conditions are needed to develop creativity? Which methods help? We advise, organize and moderate creative sessions, digital think tanks, innovation circles, innovation labs, creative detour techniques and much more. New ideas can also be found outside your own organizational boundaries.

Create a model

As soon as you have selected the promising ideas, “models” are created. Our repertoire for this is large: a flip chart thumb cinema to illustrate a new app, the construction of a new distribution system with the help of toy stones or the presentation of the new business model with a sketch note of a circus. This allows you to demonstrate vividly how the idea works and convince third parties.

Evaluate and select ideas

In this step the most promising ideas are selected. Wherein “success” first has to be described. We support you in finding unusual and courageous criteria that correspond to the innovation purpose and the challenge. So that the best ideas do not fall down behind.

Test and adapt the model

By testing the model, you will receive initial feedback from important groups of people without having to invest a lot of resources. There are several suitable test procedures: Semi-structured interviews, participatory observation, possible error analysis, focus groups and much more.

This feedback helps you to adapt the model. After several adaptation and tests, a final model for the innovation is created, which you can use to plan the implementation.

Plan implementation

Most innovation drivers neglect this aspect of change through innovation. They start from the false assumption that the decision to get your idea rolling now is synonymous with its realization. A precise description of the benefits and costs, opportunities, resources, resistance and steps for implementation is still needed. Will you start with a pilot implementation process or will you go straight into the roll-out? And also think about the communication of the implementation.

Accompanying implementation – change management

If the innovation is planned and has passed through all decision-making instances, implementation is still not certain. If, for example, an innovation calls into question habits that have become dear or intensifies the struggle for scarce resources, resistance can become so great that implementation fails. That innovation really achieves the effect everyone expected from it sometimes depends on the way in which it is implemented. But even if everything goes smoothly until then, the new still has to become routine so that it is produced, marketed, followed, implemented and integrated into the company as a matter of course.

We are familiar with changes in companies, whether a gentle change or a major transformation. One of our strengths is to keep an eye on possible pitfalls and opportunities as early as the development process of the new product. We advise you on the implementation and pass on our know-how in change management to the participants involved in your company.