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LEAD Innovation Blog

Read our latest articles on innovation management and innovation in a wide range of industries.

Date: 12-Feb-2019
Posted by: Daniel ZAPFL
Category: Innovation process

You should outsource these parts of your innovation management


Inventing something new is one of the core tasks of every company. Nevertheless, it makes sense to outsource innovation management to external partners. Read in this blog post which parts of your innovation management are suitable for outsourcing and why you are more successful with your developments in the market.

According to Peter F. Drucker, an economic innovator with Viennese roots, marketing and innovation are the core tasks of any company. All other departments within an organization would only cause costs. Despite the great importance of this area, it is not necessary to have this area handled exclusively by internal employees. When inventing the cash-cows of tomorrow, your company even benefits from outsourcing your innovation management.

House of Innovation

This does not mean that a company should give up its innovation management. And not every area is equally suitable for outsourcing. In order to show which tasks are suitable for outsourcing, a look at the structure of a structured and holistic innovation management helps first of all. This consists of the four dimensions strategy, culture, processes & methods and structure. LEAD Innovation has developed the House of Innovation to illustrate the structure and interaction of these four areas. The strategy forms the roof, including the culture as well as the processes & methods. The basis for the House of Innovation is the structure. If this is missing, then the entire innovation process would run completely uncoordinated and the invention of new, successful products, services or business models on the market would be left to chance.

Paper Innovation process


External partners can help with any building block of the House of Innovation

First of all: Your innovation management becomes more powerful if you work together with an external partner on every single dimension. This can be seen in the analysis of each individual point:


Strategy: How should your company develop further?

In order to plan an innovation strategy, you need to find answers to the following two key questions. What goals does your company pursue and how does innovation management contribute to these goals? In doing so, it is necessary to deal with your own innovation past and trends. The analysis of which inventions your company has been successful with in the past is best done by yourself. You and your employees also know very well which trends are relevant for your company or may become important in the near future.
When collecting and evaluating these trends, however, you should not rely solely on an internal view. Nokia, Kodak and General Motors show that this can be extremely dangerous. These former leading companies of the world economy have completely misjudged important trends such as the smartphone, digital photography or environmentally friendly cars and have had to fight for their economic survival, which not every company has won.
Through technology scouting, for example, it is possible to use the expertise and perspective of external partners for the collection and evaluation of trends. These experts should not only come from their own industry. This is because partners from similar fields, i.e. often completely different economic fields, can provide valuable input for the collection and assessment of trends.
In most cases companies know corresponding experts from their own industries. However, many companies have difficulties in engaging external partners from other industries. LEAD Innovation can help here with its international network of experts from numerous industries. In addition, LEAD Innovation can generate executive market studies and in-depth know-how at very short notice.
External experts can also provide valuable assistance in comparing the trend collection with the timeline. The same applies to the subsequent formulation of search fields. You can then compile your individual roadmap from these three ingredients, whereby LEAD Innovation can also support you with its network. This "map" then offers you a methodically secure path into the future that takes into account the challenges of all foreseeable changes in technologies, social conditions and market trends.
In a nutshell: When formulating your innovation strategy, let external partners and experts prepare the basis for your decisions as well as possible. It is up to you to decide which search fields your company wants to work on and what your roadmap will look like in the future.

Culture: How do you create an "innovative" environment in your company?

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is one of the most frequently used quotes in management theory, attributed to the aforementioned Peter F. Drucker. In research and development, too, it is one thing to define the path (strategy) and quite another to actually start it. The latter depends on the culture of innovation in your company.
Their management must design the framework conditions in the company in such a way that an innovation-promoting climate is created. This is characterized by the three dimensions "ability" (ability to innovate), "willingness" (willingness to innovate) and "may" (innovation opportunity). You can take many measures yourself in your company to create and strengthen an innovation culture. For example, you can set up innovation labs in which some of your employees can develop ideas independently of day-to-day business. An innovation contest is not only a very good way to get a lot of ideas very quickly, but it also improves the innovation culture in your company very quickly.
Thanks to many years of experience, LEAD Innovation can advise you on how best to promote the three dimensions of innovation in your company - the ability, the will and the permission to do so. Some measures also work better if an external partner is entrusted with the operational implementation. The success of workshops and many other meetings necessary in the innovation process depends on professional moderation.
Education and training are also an important tool to promote a culture of innovation. LEAD Innovation offers seminars and various contents on its own innovation blog, in whitepapers and downloads and in the printed issues of the Innovation Magazine, as well as videos within the LEAD Academy. You can therefore outsource the entire area of education and training in innovation management to LEAD Innovation. You can be sure that you will always be provided with the latest know-how.


Methods & Processes: How to turn ideas into innovations?

There are many methods and associated processes that lead to innovations. And it depends on many aspects - such as the innovation culture of a company - which innovation method delivers the best results. LEAD Innovation relies on Open Innovation and, with more than 15 years of experience, knows exactly when and in which phase of the innovation process external partners and experts can contribute the most to a project.
When using its own open innovation network, LEAD Innovation makes sure that all participants are not in competition with each other and can thus benefit from each other. LEAD Innovation has been using the LEAD User Method developed at MIT since 2003. So far, it has been shown that 14 out of 15 projects lead to new patents and, subsequently, to innovations. For comparison: According to studies, between 60 and 80 % of new products generally fail on the market.
LEAD Innovation also ensures that you quickly have your own prototypes after the creation of a patentable concept. LEAD Innovation can also offer you valuable support in marketing or take over parts of it. Even if the best technical invention is not marketed professionally, it becomes a flop. LEAD Innovation not only relies on inbound marketing for innovations, but also successfully uses this innovative method itself. In practice, it is generally shown that innovation projects run faster and more purposefully if an external partner is on board. Customers of LEAD Innovation regularly confirm this.

Structure: Stay innovative in the long term

Innovation is not an everyday business for most companies. For the majority, it is rather a task that has to be done "on top". At a time when the market demands inventions in ever shorter times and competitors are increasing the pressure, such a situation can lead to problems. You can counteract this dilemma by aligning your company in such a way that systematic innovation is possible.A company can hardly manage this on its own, because the perspective and expertise from outside is absolutely necessary. A partner who walks through a company with open eyes and also addresses issues outside the actual project assignment can be of decisive help here. LEAD Innovation sees it as one of its duties as a partner to draw its customers' attention to problems, untapped potential and possibilities for optimization. LEAD Innovation can also help in situations where promising innovation projects are initiated by employees without a management mandate or budget. Thanks to many years of experience, LEAD Innovation knows how to convince with submarine projects and ultimately lead them to success.


Conclusio: You should outsource these parts of your innovation management

Most markets today demand something really new at ever shorter intervals. The technical complexity, but not only them, continues to increase. In addition, it requires a certain foresight to discover potential competitors who are currently still active in completely different industries but who are already using new approaches to swirl up their own tomorrow. These drivers are placing ever greater demands on innovation management. By smartly outsourcing certain parts of it to the right partner, you can make your innovation management much more powerful. In addition, you can turn your business into an organization for which inventing is not always something extraordinary and unusual, but - to a certain extent, of course - already part of everyday business life.

5 tips for a future fit innovation process

Daniel ZAPFL

Born in Graz, Austria. After positions as project manager & head of innovation of the project management at LEAD Innovation, Daniel Zapfl has been responsible for the success of the innovation projects of our innovation partners since January 2018.

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