To help share best practice the Industrial Innovation in Transition project (IIT) reviewed the innovation practices of companies in Europe and examined the processes, support tools and policy instruments that they were using.
The findings are presented in a report: Good Practice Guide: Learning from the experience of Companies in European Countries
The good practice guide is base on 693 interviews in a variety of market sectors and features 10 case-studies. It uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore good practice across a range of themes:
Innovation Ecosystems – interrelations within the innovation ecosystem were very important, companies were found to obtain knowledge and insights about technological opportunities from the innovation ecosystem, but also shaped its development.
Innovation models and tools – companies were found to be blending the physical and virtual spaces of the innovation process by using customer driven innovation models, web enabled tools and big data. This allowed people in different companies or parts of the innovation process to cooperate and contribute.
Open Innovation – Over half of the companies studied had already (or had recently started to) rely on external knowledge for innovation on a regular basis and had established structures for open innovation.
Mapping the future innovation environment – develop an understanding of their future business environment, companies combined very different information sources and methods using highly structured processes like patent analysis, scenario-building and road-mapping, and more informal elements like attending conferences and fairs or drawing on personal and professional networks.
Innovation process and management – the de facto practice for managing innovation processes is still largely based on the stage-gate model. The second principal practice is the
customer-driven, lean start-up approach, which is used to organize more disruptive or radical innovation projects in (semi)autonomous innovation units
Each section includes summaries of the various tools and approaches used by the companies surveyed, with figures showing their popularity.
There are plenty of helpful quotations from the companies, but no references that one can follow up to get a deeper understanding of any of the specific topics. If you are reviewing your activities (current or intended) in any of these topics, this survey will be useful in checking that you are aware of the current “state of play” and are not missing any important topics. But you will have to look elsewhere for detailed practical advice.
Contributed by Sven Schimpf
Sven is a researcher and consultant at the Fraunhofer IAO / IAT Universität Stuttgart R & D management Competence Center, in the field of strategic R&D and technology management.