Increasingly the alignment of technology management and innovation management is seen as crucial to the performance of knowledge and manufacturing-based organisations. This is creating a demand for improved methods to assess performance.
To address this, John Saiz of ECS, Imoh Ilevbare, Clare Farrukh and Rob Phaal of IfM, and Nii Ahele Nunoo of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, have collaborated to provide an improved method for the Innovation Technology Management (ITM) assessment and have trialled it with a group of companies in the oil, gas and service industries.
Early findings from a trial of the Innovation & Technology Management and Maturity assessment were reported at the R&D Management Conference.
There are a number of self-assessment tools available, including:
- IMP3rove – established by the European Commission to support SMEs in improving their innovation management. This online tool covers criteria such as innovation strategy, organisation, culture, processes and enabling factors.
- Innovate! – developed by CAU as a benchmarking methodology based on an innovation excellence model. It has three pillars: leadership and governance, innovation performance and process and projects.
- Innovation Management Maturity Assessment – offered by CIMS as a tool to assess the company’s level of innovation management proficiency across five core competencies – strategy, organisation and culture, processes, tools and techniques, medications – and five management dimensions – ideas, market, portfolio, platform and project management.
However, the ability of these tools to reveal areas for improvement or intervention are limited. This is because the diversity of firms and business circumstances mean that although there are core principles of good practice there is not a single ideal model for innovation technology management (ITM) to benchmark against.
Improving ITM assessment tools
The Innovation & Technology Management and Maturity assessment builds on previous work by Cooper, Wheelwright & Clark Adams et al, Gregory and Goffin & Mitchell.
The ITM system element examines the way that technology developments are identified, selected, acquired, exploited and protected, and it reviews the business and ITM strategy then puts it into the context of the people and wider organisation.
The questions were derived by extensive fieldwork and those that elicited the most meaningful responses were included in the assessment.
Up to three people from each organisation were asked to complete the survey in return for individual feedback. At the end of the study a report summarising the generic results will be provided to all contributors.
So far the responses from 15 companies have been analysed. Each respondent answered the questions by giving a score on a scale of 1-5 where 5 was effective implementation.
The results so far show that the majority of the companies surveyed were confident in the selection of their technology with 9 of the 15 companies giving a score of 3 (good understanding) or above.
They were also confident in the strength of their new produce development processes with 11/15 scoring 4 (implementation) or above, with the majority confirming that procedures were in place for protection of intellectual property.
However only four of the companies had committed budget to blue sky innovation.
From this group it appears that the weakest area of competency is perceived to be investment in the skills and experience of the people, with 11 of the 15 companies giving maturity scores of 2 or less.
Arguably a limitation of this approach – as with the self-assessment approaches – is that it relies on ‘marking your own work’ and is therefore open to bias, particularly if the results show poor performance in an area where the respondent has responsibility.
However, the establishment of a sound framework would allow companies to benchmark against their industry, and support the propagation of good practice.
For more information: An approach for assessing the innovation & technology management capabilities in an organisation, July, 2018, please contact John Saiz, third party associate of ECS [email protected]