Innovation is the commercial application of an idea or invention, hence innovation management is significant to face business digital transformation inside a company, firm or industry.
Types of Innovation
Innovation is no longer an option, but an essential competitiveness generator. However, its effective implementation depends on several factors. First, it is essential to decide the innovation model intended to be implemented in the company or organisation, since innovation is not only technological nor is it based solely on disruptive ideas.
The Oslo Manual (2018) for example, expands the innovation concept by scope, referring to:
Innovation as a process: it promotes R&D activities developed within the organisation, including all stages and procedures, financial and commercial matters.
Innovation as a result: commitment to an improved product, service or process, which differs significantly from what was there before.
In turn, innovation depends upon its origin: it can be driven by science with technology-push models or react to market needs with market-pull models. Moreover, it can be developed in the organisation’s closed environment under closed-innovation models or using open innovation models.
These issues define the innovation management model that will guide its successful implementation. Where, besides, it is essential to formalise an innovation culture from the beginning so it truly becomes a source of competitive advantages for the organisation.
Innovation management stages
Innovation management as a strategic process that ranges from the generation of the innovative idea to its implementation and enhancement, requiring increasingly agile, flexible and specialised methodologies and systematics.
In fact, like business plans, innovation management methodologies and tools are in the complete transformation to adapt to the pace and complexity imposed by the technological context.
Briefly the main stages of innovation management are:
- Idea: application of creativity techniques and tools to detect, evaluate and develop innovation opportunities, which may come from technology offers and requests.
- Strategy: focused on the design of a strategic plan and the management dimension, using tools such as the innovation flow chart or technology road-mapping.
- Funding: before moving forward, it is essential to identify potential funding and technology cooperation opportunities to help increase resources and the scope of the innovative project.
- Development: focused on the value proposition design that formalises the initial idea, with the help of agile management tools such as design thinking.
- Exploitation: launching activities and indicators implementation for the measurement, monitoring and results in the evaluation.
Regarding the phases mentioned, technology intelligence techniques are decisive to guide informed decision making. For example, it is vital to compare information, reduce risks, save efforts and find strategic allies that enhance the scope and success of the innovative idea.
In #MoocVT, you will find resources and exercises to make technology monitoring and competitive intelligence an ally for innovation strategy.
Tools for agile innovation management
The innovation management process is in constant transformation, due to the short product life cycles and requires faster responses from organisations to survive in the market. The most effective tools for agile innovation management are constantly evolving and combine multiple methodologies, strategies and application techniques, including Canvas Models. Besides, there are various open resources such as:
- Board of Innovation open tools catalog.
- Drive social innovation toolkit NESTA.
- Open innovation toolkit Mozilla.
Protection of innovative ideas to generate intangible business assets
Intellectual property (IP) has become the main mechanism to make a profitable investment in innovation activities and R&D projects.
Therefore, guaranteeing knowledge protection in time is decisive to generate intangible assets in industry, company or organisations. These are of major importance for business operations and are also a strategic source of information used in technology intelligence to value innovation strategies.
Financing opportunities for innovative R&D projects
Keeping up to date on new R&D financing opportunities is necessary to make organisations’ strategies and innovation plans a reality. For this, monitoring and intelligence are strategic tools to capture opportunities for financing innovation in time.
There are varied kinds of science, technology and innovation activities financing, ranging from public funds to private and specialized initiatives focus by sectors. In addition, each country has a great heterogeneity of calls for researchers, entrepreneurs and companies.
Specialised search engines for financing and contracting and the principal financing organisations in each national science, technology and innovation system are available for monitor news and call launches. The most relevant in Latin America are:
- Argentina: Funding opportunities from Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
- Bolivia: Financing opportunities from
- Brazil: Funding opportunities from Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Communications.
- Chile: Funding opportunities from National Agency for Research and Development.
- Colombia: Funding opportunities from Ministry of Science.
- Costa Rica: Funding opportunities from Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications.
- Ecuador: Funding opportunities from Secretariat for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.
- El Salvador: Funding opportunities from Innovation and Quality Department of the Ministry of Economy.
- Spain: Funding opportunities from Ministries of Science, Innovation and Universities.
- Guatemala: Funding opportunities from National Secretary for Science and Technology.
- Jamaica: Funding opportunities from National Commission for Science and Technology.
- Mexico: Financing opportunities from CONACYT.
- Nicaragua: Funding opportunities from CONICYT.
- Panama: Financing opportunities from SENACYT.
- Paraguay: Financing opportunities from CONACYT.
- Peru: Financing opportunities from CONCYTEC.
- Portugal: Funding opportunities from Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education.
- Uruguay: Financing opportunities from ANII.
To anticipate to call launches it is desirable to identify innovation ecosystem actors and financing programs provided by national science and technology plans.
Technology cooperation boosts R&D internationalisation
Technological cooperation is essential for innovative organisations because facing individual project costs is not an acceptable income. Furthermore, it is becoming a strategic instrument for R&D business internationalisation allowing companies to reinforce their technological capabilities and expanding their impact in global markets.
Financing instruments that support national and international technological cooperation are increasing and also highlighting programs aimed at financing transnational technological cooperation among countries in Europe and Latin America. Some of the most relevant forms of technological cooperation are:
Bilateral cooperation: international agreements or conventions designed to strengthen R&D collaboration among participants from two different countries.
Multilateral cooperation: international agreements or conventions promoted by international organisations to enhance R&D collaboration among participants from different countries, for example:
Inter-American Development Bank
Among the most relevant multilateral technological cooperation programs for Ibero-America are:
Furthermore, to guarantee successful technological cooperation, it is essential to design an effective intellectual property strategy. With this objective, projects such as Latin America IPR SME Helpdesk offer a free, specialized and confidential service to companies interested in expanding in Latin America.