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LEAD Innovation Blog

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

Date: 04-Oct-2018
Posted by: Daniel ZAPFL

The degree of maturity of the innovation management


More than 60% of the new products fail on the market. And many new developments do not even make it onto the market. This is precisely where innovation management is used to increase innovation performance and success and to avoid the waste of resources. It is therefore all the more important to have a professional innovation management.

Innovation of innovation management

Innovations are the result of a challenging environment characterized by uncertainties, risks and complexities. With a systematic innovation management the flops can be avoided and the success rates can be significantly increased. It is therefore also important to continually improve and innovate innovation management. You have to know where the largest levers are. And they can only be identified if one knows its actual state and thus its degree of maturity.

Paper Innovation process


Maturity of innovation management

The principle of a maturity model is the description of key abilities and expressions based on regression. The key abilities are defined in different clusters. Here is the example of the maturity model of Khan / Möhrle for the evaluation of the ability to innovate:

Prof. Moehrle - maturity of innovation

Source: Lecture "Innovation Management in the Energy Economy" by Prof. Moehrle at the Lead User Symposium of the TU Hamburg-Harburg on January 28, 2016

A typical process for the optimization of innovation management with a maturity model is carried out in 3 steps:

Step 1: Assess the actual situation

Before the start, the objectives and expectations should be defined. The reassessment, ie the actual situation, is usually assessed by means of an assessment based on a questionnaire completed by the staff. A success factor is that as many employees as possible are involved from the various hierarchical levels and areas, ...

  • Thus providing an extensive, deep insight with a representative image.

Analyzes provide further insights, e.g. It is possible to detect internal discrepancies in an evaluation based on the functional areas.


Step 2: Analyze the results and derive measures

A subsequent discussion, interpretation and analysis of the results by the participants and key persons with possibly also external experts such as consultants provide further insights and background.

On the basis of the analysis potentials are identified and measures are derived. Where a relatively low level of maturity has been established, activities for the optimization of innovation management are defined and prioritized.

Step 3: Controlling the measures

After an appropriate period of time, after which it is realistic that the optimization measures are implemented and are effective, the effectiveness is to be examined by a new assessment. It is also important that step 2 explicitly specifies in which fields of action the degree of maturity is to be increased and that target values are defined. This defines the target situation, which can also be done before the assessment. Thus the effectiveness of the measures can be evaluated at the quantitative level.


Example of an evaluation with the model of the degree of maturity.


Use and benefits of maturity models

The optimization of innovation management through assessments and maturity models is, however, associated with expenses, but it has many advantages:

  • It is a systematic and step-by-step optimization of innovation management by recording the actual situation, defining the target situation, drawing up an action plan and evaluating its implementation and effectiveness. Also in the sense of the motto of Deming "If you can not measure it, you can not manage it".
  • It is a well-founded analysis, identifying the strongest levers for optimizing innovation management. You deal with facts instead of with conjectures.
  • Many maturity models like Khan / Möhrle are based on a comprehensive literature analysis. This ensures that all relevant perspectives and aspects of innovation management are taken into account.
  • It brings comprehensive insights into strengths, weaknesses and potentials. Above all, through a broad involvement of stakeholders in the innovation process, one gets a deep insight and many approaches and ideas for optimization.
  • It allows a broad involvement of the employees, on the one hand in the assessment, where this is very simple by means of questionnaires and on the other hand in the workshops for the analysis and derivation of measures. In addition to the added value through the different perspectives and competences, this also has a very positive side effect on the change process. The integration increases the awareness of the potential potentials in innovation management and the commitment to the defined measures.
  • Both the actual status and the effectiveness of the measures implemented can be analyzed quantitatively. Innovation management is measurable. It is highly interesting to evaluate innovation management on a regular basis using maturity models. The effectiveness of the measures and the further development of innovation management can thus be measured very clearly.
  • Many analysis tools based on maturity models also offer benchmarking. This makes it possible to compare its innovative performance with other companies. On the other hand, best practices can be found where learning from the best is possible.


Success Factors - What to Look For.

A broad involvement and the commitment of top management are the guarantors for a successful work with maturity models and for the joint implementation of the identified measures in the sense of change management.

For a representative result, a wide integration of all functional areas is also critical.

The assessment by means of maturity models can also involve considerable effort, depending on the choice of the model and the scope of the integration. This effort must be acceptable and in relation to the benefit.

However, there is always a benefit when one proceeds systematically and puts the improvement measures for innovation management at the center of attention. The results alone are only insights and bring only what if they lead into actions, ie successful implementation.

The results must always be considered with regard to company-specific requirements. If, for example, a company that is very technology-driven and where the voice-of-customer has less potential in the innovation process, is below average for the integration of customers, this does not necessarily mean that there are deficits.

Results in figures can not always be over-emphasized and taken at face value, because behind this, a semblance of truth can also be stuck. Therefore, it is always important to look closely at the results: on the one hand statistical, for example, analyzes based on functional areas, scatterings, etc., but also analytically for the investigation of causes and facts.

But the interpretations of the results also allow a great deal of room for maneuver. Therefore, many views and perspectives must be heard in order to avoid misinterpretations.

And in order to avoid operational blindness, it is therefore advisable to bring on board external experts such as consultants. This provides a professional perspective and additional expertise in the application of the maturity model, the analysis of the results and the definition of measures.


Which model of maturity should be used?

There are numerous models, e.g. ISO 15504 for the analysis of innovation processes or the example of Khan / Möhrle. An overview can also be found in the dissertation "Maturity model for the control of the innovation system of companies" by Christian Bürgin at ETH Zurich. This also contains an evaluation of the individual models.

When choosing the model, it is important to answer the following questions:

  • How much effort do I want to invest?
  • What results do we expect?
  • Is the model complete and understandable for us?
  • Does it suit our organization?
  • Do I need professional guidance?
  • Do we want benchmarking?

Conclusion - degree of maturity of the innovation management

Maturity models provide a thorough analysis and elaboration of improvement measures for innovation management. They have many advantages, such as the possibility of a broad involvement of all stakeholders or the measurement of efficacy through repeated application. If you want to develop innovation management professionally, maturity models are the best tool.

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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