Managing innovation is a key concern for managers along with the need to understand and manage innovation. Achieving a sustained competitive advantage which ensures long-term survival is even more of a concern for smaller firms which may struggle more under hostile environmental conditions than larger organisations. This issue was discussed in the following paper:
How Innovation Management Techniques support an Open Innovation Strategy – Ignacio Igartua, Albors Garrigos, Hervas-Oliver
Whilst research into innovation management has provided many insights, many of the encompassing problems confronting general managers – especially those of small and medium-sized firms – have been overlooked in the development of innovation management tools.
This paper examines the role of innovation management tools (IMTs) in R&D strategic planning, especially for small and medium-sized companies, and the organisational changes needed to adapt to collaborative innovation models where there is a need to forge closer links between market information and technology development.
Case-study of ORONA
This exploration is based on a case study of ORONA, a small/medium-sized Spanish company with a leading position in the European elevator industry with one out of every 10 new elevators an ORONA product. Orona (www.oron-group.com)
In 2003 ORONA’s Elevation Innovation Center (Orona-EIC) created a Cooperative Research Model, based on the concept of open innovation, which established a precise set of institutional relationships gathered into the Vertical Transport Innovation Network (VTIN).
The network supported close relationships with diverse sets of people and institutions, creating and nurturing rich and sustained interactions and collaborations.
In order to further develop and better manage its open innovation strategy, Orona-EIC considered, based on the experience and knowledge of VTIN organisations, the use of IMTs as a way to strengthen the network.
Aware of the wide range of IMTs available on the market, Orona-EIC made an analysis of the impact of particular IMTs on the key elements of its cooperative research model.
That analysis revealed that the most valuable techniques for supporting Orona-EIC’s innovation strategy were:
- collaborative project management,
- portfolio management
- scenario techniques
These tools were marked for earliest adoption.
Orona-EIC created an innovation scoreboard with indicators to measure
- the progress of its cooperative research model
- efficiency of Orona-EIC
- impact of the innovation model on Orona
- contribution of the VTIN to innovation at Orona.
The movement of the indicators over the years shows the positive evolution of the model and quantifies the qualitative feeling of optimism.
An example of the success of the collaborative model is Orona’s leading role in a strategic project funded by the Spanish Government’s Centre for Development of Industrial Technology.
The authors of the article emphasise that companies must possess a certain level of dynamic absorptive capacity to relate positively with their environment in order to capture, transform and exploit the knowledge needed for innovation. They should be able to master the skills of project management, be able to develop a technology roadmap, and be capable of working with various scenarios in order to deal with the uncertainty of the market.
Read the paper: How Innovation Management Techniques support an Open Innovation Strategy by Juan Ignacio Igartua, Jose Albors Garrigos and Jose Luis Hervas-Oliver. Research Technology Management, Volume 53, 2010- Issue 3 pages 41-52
Paper reviewed by R&D Today Editor