Since technology is such a vital force, the field of technology management has emerged to address the particular ways in which companies should approach the use of technology in business strategies and operations. Technology is inherently difficult to manage because it is constantly changing, often in ways that cannot be predicted. Technology management is the set of policies and practices that leverage technologies to build, maintain, and enhance the competitive advantage of the firm on the basis of proprietary knowledge and know-how.
Technology management needs to be separated from research and development (R&D) management. R&D management refers to the process by which a company runs its research laboratories and other operations for the creation of new technologies. Technology management focuses on the intersection of technology and business, encompassing not only technology creation but also its application, dissemination, and impact.
Invention is an activity often identified with a single engineer or scientist working alone in a laboratory until he or she happens upon an idea that will change the world, like the light bulb. In reality, industrial invention, at least since the time of Edison, has involved many people working together in a collaborative setting to create new technology. Innovation requires an even broader set of people, including manufacturing engineers, marketing and sales managers, investors and financial managers, and business strategists. The methods for organizing this set of people to bring a new idea from the laboratory to the marketplace form the basis of the discipline of innovation management.
Innovation management methods
Broadly speaking, innovation can be incremental, breakthrough or disruptive.
Incremental: In an era where businesses are required to constantly reinvent themselves, incremental innovation helps them thrive by constantly improving current products, services, processes or methods.
Breakthrough: A breakthrough innovation refers to technological advancements that can boost the level of a product or service, within an existing category, ahead of its competitors.
Disruptive: Disruptive innovations are ideas that are capable of radically changing the market behavior after being implemented.
Achieving innovation management success
For innovation management process to be successful, it is essential that the company support an innovation culture and make employees feel valued. This will encourage employees to generate quality ideas in return.
Why Is Innovation Management So Important to Compete?
Business must look ahead, not behind. It’s not just the big companies that need to do this. Every business must innovate to compete. They must create new products and services for new markets. They must be creative, and come up with new ideas that never would have been thought of before. This is the new management paradigm. Get used to it, it’s not going away anytime soon. Here’s what will happen. Everything will speed up. Processes, functions, data, inventory turns and speed to market, will force employees to learn a whole new language called innovation. Business as usual doesn’t cut it any more. Enter innovation management.
The proven management tools, techniques and clichés once embraced, are being challenged and shelved for a new set of rules and a new way of doing business. The management style of the future is no longer command and control. That ship has sailed. Today, in order for businesses to succeed, management must trust in the technologies and open leadership styles that are sweeping boardrooms, the C-suite, office suites and cubicles everywhere.