Books Read: “Managing Innovation”, Tidd, Bessant   Leave a comment


Excellent book on how to get innovation up and running. The sub-title is “Integrating Technological, Market & Organisational Change”.

The bottom line, according to the authors, is that organisations that are consistently successful at managing innovation outperform their peers in terms of growth and financial performance. But to get there, you need to realise that innovation is not easy or automatic. It requires skills, knowledge and motivation.

Overall, they argue for an incrementalist approach to innovation (one based on new knowledge & learning) within a strategic framework. Further, to enable innovation a networking mindset must be in play.

There are 6 parts to this book:
1. Managing Innovation
2. Context
3. Search
4. Select
5. Implement
6. Capture

There is quite a degree of very useful information in this book. So I won’t be aiming to cover it in detail.

As before, innovation is not just about new products. Its also about new processes and services. But underlying this is the concept of the innovation space, that there are 4 dimensions to this space:
– product innovation: changes in the things (products and/or services) that an organisation offers
– process innovation: changes in the ways in which the things are created and delivered
– position innovation: changes in the conext in which the things are introduced
– paradigm innovation: changes in the underlying mental models which frame what the organisation does

Another aspect of innovation is its particular characteristic:
– degree of novelty: incremental or radical
– platforms and family of innovation
– game changing: discontinuous innovation
– level: component or architecture
– timing: innovation life cycle, ie initially a product then a process supporting the product)

And it’s here that the authors present a number of different models and the interrelatedness of the elements of each of these characteristics.

From here the process of innovation is presented and discussed. The primary model of the innovation process is the “innovation funnel”. This model is a clear metaphor for the innovation process where there is a broad range of inputs to the process and a narrow flow of outputs. Thus:
1. search: how can we find opportunities for innovation?
2. select: what are we going to do & why?
3. implement: how are we going to make it happen?
4. capture: how are we going to get the benefits from it?

As noted in some of my other posts, innovation in the worplace requires the right conditions. Some call it a cultural thing, others climate factors. Tidd & Bessant distinguish between the two. They say that climate is defined as the recurring patterns of behaviour, attitudes & feelings that characterise life in an organisation. Whereas culture refers to the deeper & more enduring values, beliefs & norms. They highlight six climate factors that influence innovation:
– trust & openness
– challenge & involvement
– support & space for ideas
– risk taking
– freedom

Now, its all well & good to come up with ideas & plans for innovation. But they need to be implemented if they are worthwile. One of the ways to ensure this is so, is to use the “stage-gate” system:
– Gate 1: filter ideas to preliminary investigation
– Stage 1: Idea formulation
– Gate 2: filter products to business opportunities
– Stage 2: Concept formulation
– Gate 3: filter projects to product/process development
– Stage 3: Product development
– Gate 4: filter products to limited launch
– Stage 4: Test marketing
– Gate 5: filter products to international marketing
– Stage 5: International marketing

Finally, there are 4 clusters of behaviours that represent important routines in realising good performance. Successful innovation:
– is strategy based
– depends upon effective internal & external linkages
– requires enabling mechanisms for making change happen
– only happens within a supporting organisational context

All in all, it reminds me of the Steve Jobs quote: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader & a follower.”

For me, then, this book demonstrates that innovation is not a haphazard affair. That there is a method by which innovation can be infused into an organisation.

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Posted February 20, 2013 by terop in Books Read, ICT Strategy, Innovation

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