By: Jim Brown
Why is business innovation such a mystery? I think too many CEOs sign off on large R&D budgets and then cross their fingers and hope to see some real innovation come out of the black box. Why does innovation stand in such stark contrast from other facets of business that are managed and improved? Why don’t we apply proven management techniques such as lean and six sigma to innovation?
The answer is simple. Deep down, we all find innovation a bit mysterious. We throw money and people at it and don’t know what to expect in return. That doesn’t sounds like good business. Innovation is today’s alchemy. But it doesn’t need to be.
The problem is that managing innovation is surrounded by a shroud of misconceptions. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that innovation management software suffers from the same problem. Executives don’t understand what it really takes to innovate and are afraid to kill the golden goose. And they know that implementing software carries risk, so they get paralyzed.
Fear prevents them from properly stewarding their product portfolios, innovation, and R&D budgets and sub-optimizing their shareholders’ investments
Guess what. It’s just not that mysterious. Innovation can be managed and improved. And like other parts of the business, software technology can play a big role in driving improvements. So why don’t more companies embrace innovation management software? Executives suffer from fear, uncertainty, and doubt due to misconceptions. This fear prevents them from properly stewarding their product portfolios, innovation, and R&D budgets and sub-optimizing their shareholders’ investments.
This fear is unfounded. The confusion persists despite compelling results from early ideation and social innovation initiatives and proven product portfolio management (PPM) and new product development (NPD) software value. Recent research by Tech-Clarity, Top Five Misconceptions about Innovation Management Software, helps break through the confusion and allows companies to improve innovation by implementing proven innovation management software.
In short, the myths include:
- Process and software will stifle innovation
- Innovation begins and ends with an idea
- Product portfolio management is only for new products
- Innovation management software will slow us down
- We don’t have the time and resources to implement software
Leading solutions incorporate proven best practices that help drive innovation from early conception to profitable commercialization, and these solutions are within easy reach for most manufacturers.
The report shares more detail about each of these myths and offers insight into why they are inaccurate. The truth is that innovation management software helps promote, guide, and accelerate innovation. In turn, it provides significant business value. Innovation management is now a relatively mature discipline and software category. Leading solutions incorporate proven best practices that help drive innovation from early conception to profitable commercialization, and these solutions are within easy reach for most manufacturers.
So how can manufacturers get started? Despite a lot of misbelief that all innovation processes need to be defined and adhered to prior to implementation, innovation management software can be used by companies of any level of innovation process maturity. Unlike more structured solutions like ERP, innovation management is well suited to implement in a modular way. Companies can start with a focused project, solve real problems in a short timeframe, and grow value from there. In fact, the Tech-Clarity report quotes several manufacturers that share their advice to start small and improve over time.
Innovation management software is the technology that makes it happen.
Is innovation mysterious? Perhaps. Do we know what it takes to come up with the next blockbuster product? Perhaps not. Can we force people to innovate on command? Or course not! But can we guide ideas toward corporate strategies? Collaborate on them to improve them? Nurture them to their full value? Select the ones that promise the best fit with strategy, fit within our resource constraints, and then execute them to the fullest? Yes. Innovation management software is the technology that makes it happen.
As the report concludes, now is the time to recognize and clear up the misconceptions surrounding innovation management software in your business. Pick a reasonably sized problem or opportunity to address and take advantage of best practices, proven tools, and the vast body of knowledge available to demystify innovation and start getting the most out of your R&D investments.
Learn more by downloading the Tech-Clarity report, compliments of Planview.
By Jim Brown
About the author
Jim Brown Founder and President of Tech-Clarity, Inc., is a recognized expert in software solutions for manufacturers and has 20 years of experience in application software, management consulting and industry research focused on the manufacturing industries.
Jim founded Tech-Clarity Inc. in 2002. Since that time, Jim has served in a research and analyst role partnering with other analyst firms including, Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC), The PLM Evaluation Center and AMR Research. Additionally, Jim established Aberdeen Group’s Product Innovation & Engineering Practice after they acquired Tech-Clarity in 2005 and subsequently served as VP and Group Director for Aberdeen’s PLM and Manufacturing Industry Research Practices.
In 2008, Jim established Tech-Clarity “2.0” to continue his mission to make the value of technology clear to business in the Web 2.0 era. Jim is an experienced author and public speaker and enjoys the opportunity to participate in conferences about improving business performance through software technology.