Dr. Harold Kerzner, International Institute for Learning, Inc. (IIL), shares that innovation is required today, as companies cannot grow from cost reduction and reengineering efforts alone


Companies need growth for survival. Companies cannot grow simply through cost reduction and reengineering efforts. Companies are recognizing that brand loyalty accompanied by a higher level of quality does not always equate to customer retention unless supported by some innovations.

According to management guru Peter Drucker, there are only two sources for growth: marketing and innovation. Innovation is often viewed as the Holy Grail of business and the primary driver for growth. Innovation forces companies to adapt to an ever-changing environment and to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Companies are also aware that their competitors will eventually come to market with new products and services that will make some existing products and services obsolete, causing the competitive environment to change. Continuous innovation is needed, regardless of current economic conditions, to provide a firm with a sustainable competitive advantage and to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The question, of course, is “How do we manage innovation needs?”

Innovation requires:

* An acceptance of significant risk, more so than in traditional project management
* A great deal of uncertainty
* A focus on strategic goals and possibly no business case exists
* Unknown constraints and assumptions that continuously change
* Decision making in an unfamiliar landscape
* A creative mindset
* Collaboration across all enterprise organizational boundaries
* Significant interfacing with customers in every market segment
* A different leadership style than with traditional project management
* A set of tools different than what is being taught in traditional project management courses

Some tools typically used when managing innovation include:

* Design thinking
* Storytelling
* Decision-making flow charts
* Value proposition
* Business model thinking
* Wall of ideas with post-it notes
* Ideation
* Prototyping, perhaps continuously