Innovation is a multifaceted process. It starts with the creation of a product, but then extends into how the product is made, how customers receive it, and how it generates value. Robert Toledo writes for PMI about why setting up processes and policies for innovative strategies is actually a good thing, and not the suffocating restriction that it might sound like.
In general, it is never a bad thing for processes to be well-managed, so that same logic can apply to managing the development of innovative ideas. That is how project management becomes a vessel for innovation, according to Toledo. In order to further convince people of the merits of marrying project management and innovation, he offers seven processes that will make management and innovation fit each other like a glove:
- Innovation happens in a company or a project team when leadership sets up a culture and environment for it.
- Define a standardized innovation project life cycle.
- Innovation is a social process: It's about the people in the process.
- Innovation is all about failure.
- Always pilot-test what you are proposing before taking it to a full scale.
- Innovation doesn't have to mean new product development.
- Project management itself needs to be innovative.
It is up to senior management to define why innovation is important and how its success should be managed. Your innovation project life cycle should however include a description of anticipated deliverables that will punctuate the end of project phases. Keep the team members interacting and feeling empowered in order to enhance likelihood of success. But about failure, Toledo says:
Enough room to fail fosters creativity and eliminates barriers that could seriously limit our ability to change. But knowing when to stop a failed project is also important. Leave bad ideas quickly.
Everyone wants to innovate, and no, innovation is not a set science. But project management could provide the tools to make birthing innovation as painless a delivery as possible. You can read the original post here: http://blogs.pmi.org/blog/voices_on_project_management/2014/08/project-management-the-vessel.html