The management of innovation is essential to successfully create and commercialise innovative products, services and business models. Highly innovative organisations – such as Google, Apple and Unilever – are better able to meet customers’ demands, and their innovative efforts are rewarded with superior organisational performance and a competitive advantage.
Innovations encompass not only new products and services, but also the increasing opportunities that come with innovative business models.
Today’s business credo mandates more innovations, and those innovations become substantially more complex, multi-dimensional and risky.
Young and ambitious international faculty in the unit publish their work in top management journals, and collaborate with renowned international scholars and industry partners.
In its teaching, the unit links the latest management theories with business practice. It also creates training modules that help executives develop their innovation skills and apply them to business models and new business ideas.
Benefits of management of innovation
Business practice and the scientific community both benefit from the Innovation Management unit. We investigate the proper management of innovation activities, from the initial idea right through the process to the arrival of the final product, service or business model in the market.
1. Idea management
We study how companies deal with suggestion systems and the management of internal ideas, as well as how solutions are crowdsourced in the market. How do networks between employees affect the successful generation of ideas? What do employees learn from earlier ideas? And how much motivation for innovation comes from outside influences?
2. Management of innovation processes
To what extent should innovation be controlled? What types of controls are needed? Are they controls on outcomes, processes or on the relationships between managers and the people involved? How does this work in when firms collaborate on innovation projects?
3. Disruptive innovation
Innovations that create new markets for themselves or change the preferences of customers in existing markets are called ‘disruptive’. They have allowed firms of all sizes and at all stages of maturity to enter into new markets and quickly conquer them. We study how organisations can better manage their innovation process to foster these disruptive innovations. We also explore ‘frugal’ innovations which focus on consumer needs in emerging economies.
4. Leadership and vision in innovation
The internal political arena of companies is where innovation often takes place. In such a noisy arena, the project leaders who shout loudest get first access to funding. We study ways for project leaders to best communicate their ideas and vision for their innovation, so their ideas can win attention and funding.
Successful innovation needs common standards to provide interoperability between products. Standards should provide the ability to exchange and use information, and they should always provide quality and safety assurance. We investigate how firms can collaborate to create such standards. Using integrative research projects, we investigate how these processes apply if firms want to create sustainable innovations and how these processes apply in creative industries such as media and design.