The innovation process needs a person that is responsible and knows their way around – the innovation manager. But this does not mean that he/she has to do all the innovation work alone. Innovation thrives on the expertise and experience of each individual employee. It can only be successful if many contribute their share. To achieve this, however, employees need orientation, structure and, in our experience, motivation to dedicate themselves to the topic of innovation. For this reason, the role of the innovation manager as a central pivot is essential. However, this does not necessarily require that the person works 100 percent on the topic. Many of our customers, especially small and medium-sized companies, are engaged in innovation on a part-time basis. And yet – the feeling of responsibility and explicit resources are there. In such a case, external support is often necessary to relieve the burden of time as well as to provide expertise.
Der Innovationmanager überwacht und verantwortet also den Innovationsprozess. Er ist im Unternehmen methodischer Experte und Ansprechpartner, sowohl für die Geschäftsführung als auch für jeden einzelnen Mitarbeiter. Im folgenden zeigen wir, welche Anforderungen an die Rolle des Innovationsmanagers gestellt werden und welche Aufgaben dazu gehören.
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- Methodically experienced: The innovation manager should be familiar with methods and tools related to the topic. This includes individual creativity methods, as well as design thinking, lean startup or innovation controlling.
- Communication skills: The innovation manager should enjoy inspiring others about innovation and guiding them through the process.
- Well networked: Since the innovation manager brings together many people in a company, he should be well networked. This way, he always knows the right expert for a challenge and has a better chance of finding the right resources.
- Planning and control: The innovation manager should keep an overview and lead the others.
- Customer focus: As the initiator of Innovationschallenges, the innovation manager should always know what is happening in the market, what customers‘ needs are and how these will develop in the future. To do this, he often works together with the company’s marketing department.
- Challenges: The innovation manager initiates strategic innovation challenges and identifies a suitable challenge owner, who implements the challenge with him/her as an expert on the content. Together they are responsible for defining and communicating the Challenge.
- Idea generation: Once the innovation challenge is defined, it is the innovation manager’s task to ensure that a variety of creative solutions are found. He can take a variety of measures to achieve this, such as holding workshops or entire sprints or including an idea management platform.
- Prototyping: Subsequently, the innovation manager is also responsible for ensuring that the ideas are turned into holistic concepts, which are transferred into prototypes and tested on the market.
- Implementation: One of the most important tasks of the innovation manager is to ensure that the innovation process is continued and that the concepts are transferred into implementation projects.Our overview article „The most important roles in the innovation process“ shows which other roles still exist in the innovation process.