Innovation management includes a set of tools that allow managers and engineers to cooperate with a common understanding of processes and goals. Innovation management allows the organization to respond to external or internal opportunities, and use its creativity to introduce new ideas, processes or products. It is not relegated to R&D; it involves workers at every level in contributing creatively to a company's product development, manufacturing and marketing.
By utilizing innovation management tools, management can trigger and deploy the creative capabilities of the work force for the continuous development of a company. Common tools include brainstorming, virtual prototyping, product lifecycle management, idea management, TRIZ, Phase-gate model, project management, product line planning and portfolio management. The process can be viewed as an evolutionary integration of organization, technology and market by iterating series of activities: search, select, implement and capture.
Innovation processes can either be pushed or pulled through development. A pushed process is based on existing or newly invented technology, that the organization has access to, and tries to find profitable applications for.
A pulled process is based on finding areas where customers needs are not met, and then find solutions to those needs. To succeed with either method, an understanding of both the market and the technical problems are needed. By creating multi-functional development teams, containing both engineers and marketers, both dimensions can be solved.
The product lifecycle of products is getting shorter because of increased competition. This forces companies to reduce the time to market. Innovation managers must therefore decrease development time, without sacrificing quality or meeting the needs of the market.
Innovation management is based on some of the ideas put forth by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, working during the 1930s, who identified innovation as a significant factor in economic growth. His book "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy" first fully developed the concept of creative destruction.
Innovation management helps an organization grasp an opportunity and use it to create and introduce new ideas, processes, or products industriously. Creativity is the basis of innovation management; the end goal is a change in services or business process. Innovative ideas are the result of two consecutive steps, imitation and invention.
By utilizing innovation management tools, management can trigger and deploy the creative capabilities of the work force for the continuous development of a company. Common tools include brainstorming, virtual prototyping, product lifecycle management, ideation, TRIZ, Phase-gate model, project management, product line planning and portfolio management. The process can be viewed as an evolutionary integration of organization, technology, and market, by iterating series of activities: search, select, implement and capture.
Innovation processes can either be pushed or pulled through development. A pushed process is based on existing or newly invented technology that the organization has access to. The goal is to find profitable applications for the already-existing technology. A pulled process, by contrast, is based on finding areas where customers' needs are not met and finding solutions to those needs. To succeed with either method, an understanding of both the market and the technical problems are needed. By creating multi-functional development teams, containing both engineers and marketers, both dimensions can be solved.
Innovation, although not sufficient, is a necessary prerequisite for the continued survival and development of enterprises. The most direct way of business innovation is through technological innovation, disruptive innovation or social innovation. Management of innovation, however, plays a significant role in promoting technological and institutional innovation.
The goal of innovation management within a company is to cultivate a suitable environment to encourage innovation. The suitable environment would help the firms get more cooperation projects, even 'the take-off platform for business ventures'.:57 Senior management's support is crucial to successful innovation; clear direction, endorsement, and support are essential to innovation pursuits.
Innovation is often a technological change that outperforms a previous practice. To lead or sustain with innovations, managers need to concentrate heavily on the innovation network, which requires deep understanding of the complexity of innovation. Collaboration is an important source of innovation. Innovations are increasingly brought to the market by networks of firms, selected according to their comparative advantages, and operating in a coordinated manner.
When a technology goes through a major transformation phase and yields a successful innovation, it becomes a great learning experience, not only for the parent industry but other industries as well. Big innovations are generally the outcome of intra- and interdisciplinary networking among technological sectors, along with combination of implicit and explicit knowledge. Networking is required, but network integration is the key to success for complex innovation. Social economic zones, technology corridors, free trade agreements, and technology clusters are some of the ways to encourage organizational networking and cross-functional innovations.
Antonio Hidalgo and Jose Albor proposed the use of typologies as an innovation management tool. The study conducted at a European level used 10 typologies for knowledge-driven Innovation Management Tools. These typologies were found by looking at 32 characteristics  that classify Innovation Management Tools. Hidalgo and Albors were able to narrow the list down to 8 criteria (knowledge-driven focus, strategic impact, degree of availability, level of documentation, practical usefulness, age of the IMT, required resources for implementation, measurability), that are especially relevant for IMTs in the knowledge-driven economy (knowledge economy). The advantage of using typologies is the easy integration of new methods and the availability of a broader scope of tools.
Below is a comparison of various features regarding known innovation management tools
|Name||Voting||Commenting||Categories||Customizability||SSO||Integrations||Use cases||Evaluation||API||Pinging||Tags||Languages||Sharing||Exporting||Multiple processes|
|Innovation Factory||Yes||Yes||No||No||LDAP/AD||Available on request||Ideation, Collaboration, Engagement||No||Yes||No||No||English, Netherlands||Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook||Yes||No|
|Viima||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Google, Office 365, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft AD||Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Office 365, e-mail notifications, Yammer, widget, API access for custom integrations, available on request||Open innovation, Idea challenge, Continuous internal improvement, Innovation management, collaborative strategy process||Yes||Restful||Yes||Yes||English, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish, French||Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Email, Google+, Yammer||Yes, exports can also be scheduled||Yes|
|InnoEngines||Yes||Yes||No||No||Unknown||Available on request||Idea management, innovation management||No||Yes||No||No||English||Unknown||No||No|
|Ideation360||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Available on request||Strategic initiatives||No||Yes||No||No||Multiple||Yes||Yes||No|
|Stormboard||Yes||Yes||No||No||Google, LinkedIn, Facebook||Unknown||Brainstorming and collaboration||No||No||No||No||English||Yes||Yes||No|
|IMT typologies||methodologies and tools|
|Knowledge management tools||knowledge audit, knowledge mapping, document management, intellectual property rights management|
|Market intelligence techniques||technology watch / search, patent analysis, business intelligence, CRM, geo-marketing|
|Cooperative and networking tools||groupware, teambuilding, supply chain management, industrial clustering|
|Human resources management techniques||teleworking, corporate intranet, online recruitment, e-learning, competence management|
|Interface management approaches||research and development - marketing interface management, concurrent engineering|
|Creativity development techniques||brainstorming, lateral thinking, TRIZ, S.C.A.M.P.E.R method, mind mapping|
|Process improvement techniques||benchmarking, workflow, business process re-engineering, Just-in-Time|
|Innovation project management techniques||project management, project appraisal, project portfolio management|
|Design and product development management tools||computer-aided design, rapid prototyping, usability approaches, quality function deployment, value analysis|
|Business creation tools||business simulation, business plan, spin-off from research to market|
Criteria for selection of tools: IMTs that were sufficiently developed and standardized, that aimed to improve the competitiveness of firms by focusing on knowledge and that were freely accessible on the market and not subject to any copyright or licensing agreement.