Innovation Management

Second edition

by Keith Goffin and Rick Mitchell

Chapter 7

Management recommendations

  • Ensure that strong project management processes are in place.
  • Identify and manage all the important stakeholders affected by the project.
  • Appraise and manage risk.
  • Handle trade-offs when unexpected events occur.
  • Install control processes such as the Phase Gate that allow clear management, facilitate the transfer of learning from one project to another.
  • Avoid queues and delays when managing a number of projects simultaneously.
  • Develop a competence in managing collaborations with others.

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Chapter summary

The key points covered in this chapter were

  • Managing the implementation of innovations requires all the normal techniques of effective project management augmented with some specialist processes to control the high levels of uncertainty often encountered.
  • The most important of these are the adequate appraisal and treatment of risk and ensuring that the needs of the customer are fully reflected in the design.
  • Innovation projects often have repercussions beyond the project itself. The project manager must take care to ensure and maintain the support of those affected, especially if they are in positions of power.
  • A disciplined management process with clear review points not only helps control and monitoring of progress but also facilitates learning so that competence in innovation management can mature over time.
  • Managing multiple projects simultaneously demands extra care, especially to avoid queuing.
  • Increasingly, innovation projects involve collaboration with others and organizations need to develop competence in doing so effectively while not jeopardizing their strategic position.

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Recommended reading

1. Wheelwright, S. C. and Clarke, K. B., Revolutionizing Product Development (New York: The Free Press, 1992). [Authoritative and readable introduction to the subject.]

2. Cooper, R. G., ‘Third-Generation New Product Processes’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 11, No. 1 (January 1994), pp. 3–14. [Summary of the stage-gate process pioneered by Cooper and his co-workers.]

3. Cooper, R. G., ‘From Experience. The Invisible Success Factors in Product Innovation’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 16 (1999), pp. 115–133. [Excellent and practical survey of do’s and don’ts in managing innovation projects.]

4. Keizer, J. A., Halman, J. I. M. and Song, M., ‘From Experience: Applying the Risk Diagnosing Methodology’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol. 19 (2002), pp. 213–232. [Detailed description of a successful process for identifying and managing risks in innovation projects.]

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Learning objectives

  1. To introduce the basic techniques of project management and emphasize their importance.
  2. To discuss the additional techniques that can be used to manage the higher levels of uncertainty typically found in innovative projects.
  3. To introduce concepts of risk analysis and appraisal.
  4. To review and discuss the various forms of organisation that can be used to manage multiple projects.

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Multimedia material

  • Elise: The Inside Story: An NMTV Discovery Channel Production (1996). This is a 2½ hour video telling the story of the Lotus Elise sports car. It includes many interviews with managers, footage of meetings and an explanation of the key decisions made. A selection of appropriate sections can be shown during a course on innovation (e.g. a section on the generation of the product concept; a section on the trade-off decisions during the development, etc.).
  • Tom Peters Innovate or Die video (available from has the useful story of the development of a new product – an industrial grinder.
  • European Case Clearing House (1999). Reson: Making Development Teams. 699-029-3 is a useful interview with a product development manager discussing the importance of delegating responsibility to the team.
  • Open University Worldwide Limited. Running the Planet. B2000/ITV shows how Nike running shoes are developed.
  • The Harvard Business School video Time Based Competition has an excellent short video of cross-functional teams at Chrysler.

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