Managing the implementation of innovations requires all the normal techniques of effective project management augmented with some specialist processes to control the uncertainty that is to be expected in innovation. Managers must choose between several different modes, or models, of project management. Incremental innovations, and the early phases of more ambitious ones, may benefit from agile techniques such as scrum. Otherwise, more formal techniques are usually needed. In addition, a disciplined management process with clear review points, or gates, not only helps the control and monitoring of progress but facilitates learning so that competence in innovation management can mature over time. Managing multiple projects simultaneously demands extra care, especially to avoid overload and shifting priorities.
Increasingly, innovation projects involve collaboration with others and organizations need to develop competence in doing so effectively while not jeopardizing their strategic position.
More radical innovations often demand changes in several parts of the organization, not just the one in which the innovation is centred. For this and other reasons, it is important to understand the resistance that an innovation may generate from the various stakeholders in the enterprise and have a plan to address it.
Interview with Simon Bransfield-Garth
Ensure that strong project management skills are in place.
Choose a style of project management and oversight appropriate for the task, recognizing that the needs of the investigation and implementation phases are different.
Appraise and manage risk.
Give adequate attention to changes required to support the innovation in all parts of the organization, not just the department on which it is centred.
Consider the resistance the innovation may generate and manage it.
Manage the flow of information and avoid unnecessary iterations.
Install control processes such as the phase gate that allow clear management and facilitate the transfer of learning from one project to another.
Avoid congestion and overloading when managing a number of projects simultaneously.
Develop a competence in managing collaborations with others.