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This website was created by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI), part of the OECD Public Governance Directorate (GOV).

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Innovation Management

Harnessing systematic support for innovation

Innovation Management

About Innovation Management

Sound innovation management practices strengthen the effectiveness and longevity of innovation activities.

Why a systematised approach to innovation is needed

Across the world, individuals, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and governments are thinking about innovation and how it can be harnessed and systematised to achieve growth or create value in organisations, public administrations, and in innovation ecosystems. Despite the existence of many individual examples of successful innovations, there are far fewer examples of organisations consistently and systemically innovating over the long term. A systematic approach to innovation in organisations involves a combination of capacities, processes, functions and approaches. As innovation involves novelty and emergence, managing it might sound counterintuitive. However, innovation can and should be managed, as good innovation management practices and capabilities secure and strengthen the effectiveness and longevity of innovation activities.

What is innovation management?

Innovation management is a concept which speaks to the systematic management of and support for innovation efforts in organisations, including how it can be operationalised. Innovation management spans across a number of domains, from finance to capacity building, and is becoming an increasingly formalised practice in organisations across the world. This including new “innovation manager” roles and competencies specified in formal human resources management systems. At the international level, several efforts have been made to standardise the practice of innovation management, including through the development of an ISO standard for innovation management.

Activities of innovation management

  • Articulating the purpose(s) of innovation, such as through the OPSI Innovation Facets framework
  • Process leadership and facilitation, including individual and organisational agency to develop new approaches
  • Tool and method navigation to apply the relevant innovation process according to the problem and circumstances
  • Portfolio analysis and management, to identify how multiple activities are oriented toward innovation goals as well as where gaps exist
  • Innovation supply generation, to create alternative options and introduce new thinking
  • Learning and feedback culture and support, to enable reflexive, agile management of innovation across different projects and initiatives over time
  • Cross-functional team creation and coaching, to build systemic approaches and cross silos in organisations as well as policy areas
  • Opportunity hunting, to identify signals of the future, identify early opportunities to shape innovations as they emerge, and scale innovation along with partners who have a stake
  • Network orchestration and relationship brokering, to build trusted relationships between people and organisations with different interests and perspectives