Varying attempts have been made to articulate conceptual order with respect to the innovation processes of organizations, in the form of innovation process models. The variety amongst the models is the consequence of a lack of consensus as to what an innovation process should look like, given the unique contexts, environments, and purposes for which they are developed. Innovation models are important because they offer a simplified external representation of a complex system to “…assist innovators and management teams in framing, understanding, and acting on the issues which need managing” (O'Raghallaigh, Sammon, & Murphy, 2011).

Innovation processes illustrate the phases associated with the exploration of opportunities for new and/or improved products, processes and services, stimulated by advancements in technical practice or alternatively changes in market demand, and ideally a combination of both drivers (Pavitt, 2005). In this vein, innovation process depictions commonly adopt a wide-scope view, encompassing the schema, phases and processes from the decision to commence research on an opportunity or problem, to development, commercialization, implementation and diffusion.

An extensive corpus of literature has accumulated documenting the range of end-to-end phases relating to innovation processes. All models start with some form of idea generation or searching stage. Secondly, a selection phase follows to determine which projects are feasible and potentially lucrative enough to be pursued. The third step reflects the development phase where the idea is developed into a tangible product, process or service. This stage can be described differently where terminologies such as development, prototyping, manufacturing and realization are used inter-changeably. The fourth phase represents implementation/launch and typically entails marketing, distribution, logistics and customer facing activities. Sometimes a post launch phase to accommodate re-innovating, scaling and learning dimensions is included.


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