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Disruptive approaches and agile action are essential for successful innovation management.

Today, more than ever, innovation work plays a key role when it comes to tapping growth potential and securing the long-term success of a company. Corporate leaders are often faced with the task of transforming their existing business model with its "old" structures while at the same time creating disruptive innovations. As such, an alternative approach to ideas can be useful. Established innovation processes are often too slow to keep pace with the increasingly dynamic pace of transformation. Innovation management needs to be far more agile to meet today’s requirements, and tools and methods need to be adjusted accordingly.

Agile methods and tools

For a long time, stage-gate and product development processes formed the basic framework for innovation work. These subdivide innovation activities into different phases, whereby a decision on the next course of action is made at the end of each phase. All ideas available in the company are collected and channeled via these processes. In a context of traditional, step-by-step innovation, this linear approach delivers good results. 

While further developments around existing products and services can continue to be brought to market success through classical innovation principles, ideas quite different from the current core business require fundamentally different approaches. Such ideas are usually fraught with uncertainty. In order to move forward quickly and successfully, agile methods from the design-thinking and lean-start-up approaches are absolutely central. These disruptive approaches enable more rapid innovation, and include “open innovation” whereby external stakeholders are included in the innovation process, incubators act as “hotbeds” for developments, and accelerator models make ideas market-ready more quickly.

Ecosystem innovation

Many successful organizations are also intensively engaged in business model and ecosystem innovation. Companies no longer need to do everything in-house; they also have the option to offer market services, or add greater value, by working together with strategic partners within an ecosystem, and in this way to react flexibly to changing market conditions. This benefits customers along with all stakeholders involved in the process.