Innovation Management

-By INSME Secretariat

The opening session of the INSME Innovation Management Programme held on the 30th of April 2020 by Hamsa Thota, President of Innovation Business Development INC, U.S.A., and member of the INSME board was an intense journey throughout innovation management.

By sharing the Product Development and Management Association definition of innovation which is “A new idea, method or device. The act of creating a new product or process. The act includes innovation as well as the work required to bring an idea or concept in the final part”, Hamsa Thota introduced the first session’s macro topic, that is the skills needed to lead and manage innovation by highlighting the importance of leaders’ and policy makers’ mindset. The ideal situation is the one characterised by “abundance of mindset” where the value gained from innovation is not limited to shareholders only, but it can be expanded to all stakeholders. When there is abundance of mindset we are in front of market creating innovation which generates jobs. An example of abundance of mindset is Apple which introduced a radical technology platform by 1) putting on the market a product that radically changed people’s lives and 2) launching a strategy based on the introduction of improvements to that product. This enabled and continues to allow Apple to keep on extracting value from its product idea.

According to the speaker, governance is the key lever for a change of mindset: the public and private sector should work together by focussing on solving challenges and by doing so they could create a new ecosystem of innovators and entrepreneurs. An “innovation harmony” – as defined by Hamsa Thota – could be reached through a balance gain of economic, social and ecological value. If we look at the current Covid-19 emergency, we can see that all economies around the world are struggling against the pandemic. This, in the speaker’s visionary perspective, could drastically change mindset and bring to a close collaboration between China, the European Union and the United States by achieving harmony for the benefit of all and this could be done through public-private partnerships to be adopted as a structural mechanism that brings together the two sectors to achieve an inclusive growth.

The second part of the webinar was dedicated to the innovation process, with a focus on the front end which is divided into five areas: opportunity identification, analysis and selection of opportunity, idea generation and enrichment, idea selection and improvement, concept definition and business case preparation. For innovation to be successful and for a product to extract value it is important that all aspects related to market development are taken into account and that also teams appreciate both product and market development. It is crucial to enable an interaction between market, product and consumers. And this was exactly what Steve Jobs did when, by looking at people’s future needs, he brought into the market a new product that responded to the people’s need to have music on the go. He focused on creating a future need.

Companies need to balance profits, growth and innovation in order to have a successful product portfolio management, stated Hamsa Thota. He continued the presentation by introducing the Stage and Gate Process of a new product/service development where stages are the places where innovation is done while gates are the ones where decisions related to resources allocation and steps forward are taken. A company becomes agile based on its project’ value.

The presentation was closed with the initial aspirational vision of a close collaboration between China, the U.S. and the European Union through the adoption of public-private partnerships as a mechanism and by highlighting that in such a visionary scenario intermediary organisations like INSME can play a worthing role and achieve a very inclusive growth and accomplish value gains in economic, social and ecological dimension.

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