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An Innovation Manager Is An Idea Manager

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series The Twelve Hats of an Innovation Manager

Does your organisation require the services of an innovation manager? Trying to describe the position can be difficult.

Since the functions of the innovation manager are so diverse, it is difficult to rationalise the business case for hiring a dedicated resource. Luckily, in this exclusive series of blog posts, titled The Twelve Hats Of An Innovation Manager, we examine the twelve diverse functions that an innovation manager performs for an organisation.

Hopefully, this series can help you define and rationalise the importance of an innovation manager. In this post, we look at the function of the idea manager.

An innovation manager is an administrator of an entire system of new ideas. To do so, the innovation manager selects meaningful sources of data. Part of this process involves the ability to evaluate sources. One wrong step in the selection process can lead a company in the wrong direction. Care and diligence are required.

Once sources are selected, the manager must also collect, purchase and store those resources in an organised fashion. Like an office administrator organises thousands of digital files or paper documents, the innovation manager has a robust system to organise and keep track of meaningful studies, reports, questionnaires, and other data sets.

The innovation manager is the gatekeeper of the company’s ecosystem of new ideas. He or she must make sure that everyone at the company has a voice. The ideas that an innovation manager further develops must adhere to the company’s culture and vision. All this takes supreme management capabilities to keep track of it all.

Managing ideas the right way

Often, executives at organisations believe their company is innovative. They look around their offices and facilities and see all sorts of new ideas being implemented. However, they may not know precisely how those ideas are being generated or implemented. In other words, they do not manage the ideas to full effect.

In reality, if ideas are properly managed, the entire process – from ideation, design, testing, and implementation – can run much smoother.

A dedicated innovation manager is someone who transforms an organisation’s management system of ideas:

“Unmanaged” Innovation

“Managed Innovation”

Independent innovation

Employees at companies are encouraged to do things independently to get things done. This leads to many uncoordinated efforts that do not communicate with each other and therefore are duplicative.

Coordinated innovation

An innovation manager implements and fosters a system to manage all the ideas. Ideas and processes are assigned ownership to different experts so that efforts are coordinated and non-duplicative.

Forced innovation

Sometimes, the loudest person in the room gets their way. This method of managing ideas is forceful and does not consider all the needs of the company or the teams.

Community ideation

Innovation managers make sure that all the relevant voices get a chance to be heard. They track new ideas, poll employees, and coordinate feedback mechanisms across the whole company to get new ideas.

Innovation through politics

This kind of innovation happens when employees feel that “it is all who you know” to get anything to happen. This type of innovation is destructive and can lead to favouritism and detriments to team morale.

Inclusive innovation

An innovation manager is the main touch-point for innovation at the company. They coordinate with decision-makers and provide a transparent process for bringing new ideas forward. They work alongside product owners, knowledge experts or process managers to ensure all avenues to innovation get a fair chance to succeed.

Series Navigation<< An Innovation Manager Is An Idea FinderThe Innovation Manager Is An Organisational Developer >>

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