An extensive corpus of literature has accumulated documenting the range of end to end phases relating to innovation processes. Eleveens (2010) synthesized these phases ranging from idea generation through to implementation and review as illustrated in Table 1 below. 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. Some authors also include a post launch phase to accommodate re-innovating, scaling and learning dimensions.
Table 1 Phases of Innovation Processes
Source: (Eleveens, 2010)
In addition to these innovation phases, several authors acknowledge that innovation process does not occur within a vacuum, and thereby indicate a range of contextual factors which impact on the processes deployed (Rothwell, 1994 ; Cormican and O;Sullivan, 2004 ; Tidd and Bessant, 2005 ). Innovators operate within complex and turbulent environments, and are increasingly confronted with escalating and rapid technology developments, competitive global market competition and shorter product life cycles meaning they must be reactive and flexible to organizational, technological and market shifts (Garud et al., 2006 ). Such contextual factors range from organisational characteristics to societal factors and from internal factors that are controllable to external factors. These factors have been mapped by (Eleveens, 2010) into six categories which include: Strategy; Culture; Leadership; Organisational structure; Resources/Skills and links and networking links.
Indeed, the literature base identifies a range of organisational, environmental and contextual factors which impact on the processes deployed (Rothwell, 1994; Cormican and O’Sullivan, 2005 and Tidd et al., 2005 ). The AT Kearney House of Innovation model, which underscores the European Commission’s IMP³rove programme maps such innovation lifecycle and organisational/contextual factors (Figure 1).
Figure 1 AT Kearney House of Innovation
Source: A.T. Kearney 2006 – available at: www.improve-innovation.eu
• The Innovation Strategy identifies the most promising areas where innovator can achieve superior profit growth rates either with new products/services or with existing products/service in new markets or with new or improved processes or business models.
• The Organization and Culture must support this innovation strategy so that the profit growth targets can be reached. Organisations must have the structures, for example, to integrate external partners in their development processes or to seamlessly manage the development processes. Their culture must be open to new ideas no matter where they come from. The organisation has to translate the innovation strategy to pursue those ideas that are most promising for their focus areas.
• In the Innovation Life-Cycle Management there are many steps where leading innovators avoid inefficiencies and ensure short time-to-profit, while the average company might only focus on the time-to-market and forget about proper life-cycle management after the launch of the innovation.
• Enabling factors such as knowledge management or capabilities in specific technologies or expertise in new market development also have a significant impact on growth through innovation management. They must be aligned with the innovation strategy, allocated in the right manner in the organization and leveraged for successful innovation management to fully exploit the growth potential of the innovation.
C. Eleveens, "Innovation Management: A Literature Review of Innovation Process Models and their Implications," Nijmegen, NL, 2010.
R. Rothwell, "Towards the fifth-generation innovation process," International Marketing Review, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 7-31, 1994.
K. Cormican and D. O'Sullivan, "Auditing best practice for effective product innovation.," Technovation, vol. 24, no. 10, p. 819–829, 2004.
J. Tidd and J. Bessant, Managing innovation - Integrating technology market and organizational change, Chicester: Wiley, 2005.
Garud, R., A. Kumaraswamy and V. Sambamurthy, "Emergent by design: performance and transformation at infosys technologies," Organization Science, vol. 17, no. 2, p. 277–286, 2006.
J. Tidd, J. Bessant, and K. Pavit, “Managing Innovation – Integrating Technological, Market and Organizational Change. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.