Management of Innovation and characterizing its problems
The contribution is aimed at one of the areas of management, actually on the area of innovation management. It characterizes problems of innovations (from both of system and pragmatic standpoint). In association with the innovations it deals with various rates of identifiable components of managerial work (conceptual, technical, humanities) at all levels of enterprise management.
Key words: management, innovation management, human resources
The aim of the contribution is to outline one of a lot of innovation management problem areas - a human factor - MANAGER.
A question how the latest knowledge is reflected in a subjective production factor, how scientific knowledge is evident in activities performed by a worker, technician, engineer, and how social and economic knowledge is applied in a particular organization, production planning and work stimulation, i.e., summarizing, what is the enterprise management (TOP management, but also management process, its structure), what is a special Management of Innovation in a firm control logics, what is the enterprise innovation behaviour as an integral part of the whole strategy, enterprise policy, seems continuously to be of more and more importance. The Management of Innovation is an effective tool of a General Enterprise Management, through which this management stimulates any enterprise employees to a creative activity.The Management of Innovation is a process of rational innovation management, respecting customers needs as well as a producer's needs. In a principle it means the management has to be oriented to innovation. (Note: innovations present both systematic and random opportunities usage to changes).
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From the point of view of source ensurance of particular innovation development and implementation stages, innovation order, effect to the organization changes and production process control and estimated economical effects and as consequences of innovation intentions, in principle three fundamental innovation kinds can be identified:
rationalization innovation - oriented to mobilizable resources utilization, without major demands for research, development, investment and other sources, feasible in quite a short time horizon, representing usually partial solutions.
medium innovation - ensuring higher intensity and innovation changes order, i.e. in principle product and technological innovation with a higher level of complex solutions.
complex innovation - oriented especially to progressive structural changes in economy with high demands to ensure particular preparation stages and implementation, with a high innovation order, with significant demands for their solution completeness from invention to implementation, and with significant economical and other than economical national economic effects.
This innovation sorting simultaneously supposes a differentiated approach to the Management of Innovation, both from the point of view of methods, forms and management tools, and comptenency and responsibility of managers.A complex innovation is understood to be an enterprise aimed status, in which a set of mutually interlinked partial aims - innovation intentions, investment, business policy, production, organization and management,social and cultural policies, is substantially limited and timely scheduled.
2. Management of Innovation
The Management of Innovation, as it has been mentioned already, is in fact an efficient tool of all levels of the General Enterprise Management. From a system point of view, the Management of Innovation can be characterized as an element or sub-system of a General Enterprise Management,which can be characterized with external and internal relations.
The external Innovation Management relations comprise a wide spectrum of relations with scientific disciplines such as natural sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.) and social ones (economy, psychology, sociology, etc.). Relations to various managerial activities are of a pragmatic character, especially related to:
General Enterprise Management, the Management of Innovation being its organic part,
Management of Change
Total Quality Management
In addition, various relations exist to:
From the point of view of internal relations, the Management of Innovation consists of following parts:
problem solving methods,i.e. methods, tools and innovation project development, process and implementation procedures,
managerial activities in form of communication planning, organizing, motivation and control of actions related to the innovation project development, process nad implementation,
manager behaviour in form of tendency to innovativeness, initiating others to innovation activities
Following from that, the Management of Innovation is one of special firm managements. A purpose of this managerial activity is to launch new innovated products to the market.
At present, it is mostly newly founded enterprises and firms, which significantly aim at practical using of the above outlined complete approach to the Management of Innovation. Most enterprises under the difficult transformation process from state enterprises or state joint-stock companies to private enterprises or firms seem not to have an idea and time for innovation. Personnel instability of their enterprise managements, sales difficulties and resulting wide payment instability with bankrupcy endanger, all this and other difficulties of the current transformation period to the market economy remove away an interest of enterprises and firms in product and production innovation, organization innovation and enterprise management up to a "second, third" rail. However, from the point of view of successful enterprise prospect, it is a serious mistake. It is because just a commercially successful production programme implemented under high technology is, in addition to payment of wide international liabilities, a real, fundamental and prosperous solution of a lot of current difficulties.
3. Manager and Problems Solving
The roots of excellent development projects are in skills of people being involved in them - designers, production employees, vendors and managers. Even the widest and most careful planning cannot replace a lack of creative human intellect. New products and production skills improvement should begin with a programme for people qualification and abilities improvement.
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This requires a lot of skills. Based on long - term practical experience, they can be divided into two large areas: a technical one and managerial one.
Technical qualification comprises knowledge from a particular discipline branch and an ability to apply the knowledge while technical problems solving. Technical qualification can be measured as for its depth (being not totally identical with a term of specialization) and width. The knowledge width is not less important, enabling to recognize in time potential problems and to integrate various discipline activities. Usually it cannot be found at one person, therefore specialists and universalists exist.
Managerial skills need not only the Innovation Manager, even he surely should be able to communicate efficiently with people and to lead them. Therefore, qualification should be improved even in people leadership (a choice of people, their work organization, their performance evaluation, feedback relations achieving) and organization.
This skills usage extent will depend on a role and position of a particular man. Even technically gifted engineers will be much more efficient after good managerial skills achieving.
From the point of view of a management level (top,medium, operative), a ratio of components is given as follows: Conceptual :Technical: Humane in %.
In addition to ability to supervise labour of others, to communicate with them and negotiate with people, the Management of Innovation, product and manufacturing processes development requires the ability to lead (leadership), to motivate others, create and form ideas of basic concepts, including changes in the control system. Lack of clarity, certainty and conflicts being a natural co-phenomen of any innovation cycle, awareness of a good direction and aim stability are very important.
To improve skills of people in a particular organization dealing with development requires systematic and sensitive planning. It is not only a random training in working hours, but a systematic qualification improvement, e.g. in 3 spheres:
A sphere of "building stones". Skills required for particular functions fulfilment within development - engineers, chief designers, product development technicians, planners - should be gained by employees and should be planned for them in order a particular employee being assigned with a task has a chance to fulfil it successfully.
A sphere of the whole organization (changes in management,functions). To prepare a list of skilled people suitable for particular posts, who could be appropriate employees for product or manufacturng process projects which will be probably implemented. They can become a guide of a function "map" for the organization.
A sphere of a career planning. Coordination of individual abilities with the organization needs in a dynamic environment. Its purpose is not only to ensure certain skills to be required in future, but to develop the skills in systematic way. A career planning improves a personal development value both within research, development and project management, and out of them.
Nevertheless a systematic plan is a vital precondition for development of required technical and managerial skills at own firm people, guidelines for those people assignment to various projects are vital, too. A capacity planning in production is usual, however, capacity planning in research and development ensuring and application is neglected. Capacity problems are usual in development projects, i.e. unfulfilled plans, work acceleration and source reduction, as well as problems of one sphere transferring to the other ones, because of a contact of various section people during their solving.
A progressive orientation in capacity planning consists in solving less, but bearing (competitive) projects. Instead of following e.g. eight projects - disseminating sources and requiring to solve several tasks simultaneously, causing confusions and requiring frequent changes in sources distribution, is seems to be more efficient to pay attention to three or four vital projects, to ensure their quick and good implementation.
An ability of a firm to create a source of competitive benefits from products and manufacturing processes development depends on how the firm manages it, what is the innovation cycle management system.Nevertheless I emphasize a vitality of good research and development projects backgrounds, techniques themselves are much less important that thought processes and planning hidden in particular stages of the innovation cycle. The best basis for a successful development is not a set of diagrams, but most probably opinions consensus on various functions strategies and clear firm TOP Management strategic direction definition. Programmes ensuring talents,skils and concentration required for this aim achieving are not less important, too.
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A successful project being mostly a question of the management system, a project should be managed as a minifirm. The main task of the project management (management of innovation) is to harmonize and coordinate skills and opinions of all functional departments. A necessary strategic integration should be performed before the project initiation. Management of "a development funnel", matching the functions map with product and manufacturing process "windows", preparation of people with respective technical and managerial abilities should be prior, too.
A thorough integration of various functions and activites related to this innovation during the whole innovation cycle is the most important for the Management of Innovation. Permanent improvement of a firm performance by successive innovations is most of all a task of the Management of Innovation. Innovations being different, research - development - implementation being different, too, their common problem which should be solved by the Management of Innovation, is to create and launch something new. A success depends on various functions quality work and a way of those efforts integration.
A manager for a development project is assigned for particular stages of an innovation cycle (concept, planning, production) for each particular product, the objective of whom is to coordinate activites of main technical disciplines and functional teams of the firm: sales, marketing, production and purchase. Each of those functions will propose a particular employee to represent it in the project (solving) team.
The Management of Innovation should be aware of a fact each product has its upward and downward deviations, even good climate exists around the new product (given by a correct concept, good planning, production feasibility, market evaluation, detailed technical study...) and it should solve four area indicators presenting a core of successful innovation, successful project including implementation:
to solve problems
to prevent against conflicts
to organize a project
to manage a new production
Problem solving is the most important activity at the development. A team is to match its knowledge of technical abilities with understanding for customers needs. Existing technologies often don't comply with the market needs. How to harmonize those two points of view? E.g. by preparing alternative solving confronted continuously with market requirements up to finding an appropriate approach, or up to a time the management proposes a change of requirements. Another possibility to solve the problems consists in connection of two stages of the innovation cycle by a permanent information flow between two departments, allowing another department to understand problems faced by its predecessor, to find probable solutions and to estimate his work potential influencing. A needed information flow should exist, however, the previous and future departments should be able to utilize it. An ability to find quickly a problem, accumulate appropriate people to work and solve it, is a key to overlapping problem solving, requiring fundamental changes in approaches of people, respecting mutual motives and abilities between staff persons from previous and future departments. Common responsibility of departments (teams) for their common effort result requires much deeper awareness of responsibility that could have been expected from them providing they had been just required to coordinate better their efforts. Common responsibility and managerial stimuli and information systems needed to support them, are a basis for outstanding problem solving.
A development project organization is based on a project manager system of a type as follows:
light weight - an employee of a medium or lower level, and, even having wide professional knowledge, usually of low prestige or low influence in the organization. Key persons, including engineers, are controlled by respective function managers and the project manager is not entitled to change people assignment or source distribution,
heavy weight - a project manager has a direct approach to labour of all people involved in the project, being directly responsible for it - it is a higher manager in the organization, on the same or higher level than the function manager of function departments,
team of tigers - with the heavy weight manager in the head, being the most efficient and most convenient for firms competiting in the field of technical progress.
A connection of a new product and new production process to one effective comercial operation lays great demands on a firm. The organizations having their production processes under control, with a minimum confusion, where all have been still learning, can be highly efficient production organizations. Perfect production is important for a success of an innovation cycle in the production stage as well as for the development project (from the point of view of performed changes). A way of management of these activities strongly influences the project implementation. A speed and quality of a prototype performance can much influence the speed and quality of the whole development effort of the firm.
In spite of decisive importance of efficient managerial processes, technical professional qualification cannot be replaced. Firms can achieve good results at research and development not thanks to good strategies, slogans or luckiness, but simply because of their permanent improvement in the fields mostly influencing the development. In principle it is good engineering, good management and supporting departments within the whole organization.
All professionals agree the champions are not only the spice supplying high quality, but at whole " an engine of the Management of Innovation". It is not too hard to invent something (invention), much harder is to implement the new one successfully (innovation). Any solving team should have its champion and to "care" for him.
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