ISO 56000 Guidelines on Innovation Management: Updates and the Road Ahead

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Innovation took a significant step toward becoming a mature science at the ISO working group meeting at the Tokyo Summit, Oct 13 – 17th. Over 100 professionals from 50 countries gathered to compare experiences and find commonalities as part of the ISO/TC 279 technical committee’s work on the development of the new ISO 56000 series for Innovation Management.

The results will share a great deal in common with the already published European standards for Innovation Management, CEN/TS 16555 Part 1-7. The biggest difference is in the global application of the work and the new insights brought by professionals actively engaged in innovation projects since it was first published four years ago.

Innovation360’s Sten Jacobson split his time at the summit between finalizing documents on innovation management assessments and developing guidelines for idea management. In January 2019, the ISO plans to publish the complete set of documents, an outline for internationally agreed upon standards for the terminology, tools, methods and interactions around innovation. That series of standards will set a baseline for enabling innovation as a science in the professional world.

Overview of Topic Areas

The documents will cover:

  • Fundamentals and Vocabulary in Innovation
  • Essential Components in Innovation Management Systems
  • Scalable Procedures for Innovation Management Assessment
  • Guidance on Partnering and Collaboration for Innovation
  • An Introduction to Strategic Intelligence Management
  • Shared Expectations on Intellectual Property Management

While there will be finely detailed guidelines for tool, methods and other inovation techniques, there will not be any formal requirement that could be used for certification in this first release of the ISO 56000 series of standars. There is still much to be done before we reach that point, and it is exciting to play a role in the creation of global standards from the ground up.  Innovation management has great potential in conserving valuable resources, extending our productive capacity, and finding solutions to the biggest problems humanity faces.

The Value of Standards

Even the ISO recognized one of the biggest challenges facing the working team in their article, Innovation and standards – a contradiction?  How do you standardize the creation of radically new concepts and patterns of thought? Standards will not impede creative ideation, but lay down some best practices and create a collaborative language. Ideation is one aspect of innovation, arguably not even the most valuable. It is the process of testing ideas for their validity, measuring their impact in the market, and executing the ideas systematically that brings true innovation to life. As climate change, resource scarcity, and growing populations make innovation more urgent, we cannot waste time and talent on pursing unproven and untested initiatives. Innovation management will eliminate a great deal of waste, while maximizing and extending the value of our efforts.

The global nature of innovation mandates a set of standards and measures that will allow innovators to collaborate across national and cultural lines to solve big problems like the development of a sustainable energy ecosystem to power our world, and for the development of innovation clusters that transform entire industries, regions and systems to work better and more efficiently.

From Assesment to Ideation

The most meaningful contributions that Innovation360 provided to the nascent ISO 56000 guidelines involved details around its data driven assessment method, database and and tools and now in Tokyo also its best practices in the new task force for ide management.

Mass Adoption

There are already early adopters using these techniques to produce meaningful changes, but a far more dramatic cultural shift is likely to follow when the masses begin to adopt them in the next 3 to 5 years.

Once all of these clearly defined elements become global, you will see a greatly amplified effect on collaboration. Today, there are already examples of regional initiatives like Growkomp brought together a very complex mix of companies and professionals to discover what innovation can do for them, both at the level of the individual company and the revitalization of an entire region.

The shared standards and processes that Innovation360 brought to GrowKomp was invaluable as a foundation for dialog and achieving consensus. The Growkomp model has been tremendously successful both financially and in terms of meeting Corporate Social Responsibility goals. In fact, the two went hand in hand, because by attracting diverse talent to the region they found renewed contributions to their revenue growth.

That sort of model could promote more effective innovation at industrial clusters all over the planet — especially those facing the need to innovate in the face of a turbulent economy.

ISO 56000 Coming to Sweden in May

The next great step in that direction will come in May of 2019, when the ISO Technical Committee (ISO/TC 279) is scheduled to gather in Stockholm for a plenary meeting at the Swedish Standard Institute (SIS) in their stunning new building. That plenary meeting is where everyone will have a chance to vote on adopting these standards that we’ve collectively worked on so diligently for so long. That event promises to be a very exciting time for us, because that marks the launch the next phase when Innovation360 will take a leading role in introducing the world to ISO 56000: Innovation Management standards.

This is a long term project, at least 10 more years of work to be done on bringing Innovation to maturity as a science. While 2019 marks an important transition, there is a great deal to be learned from collaborating with our business partners and other stakeholders. Although this you couldn’t think of this as the beginning of the end, it will certainly mark the end of the beginning.

Innovation360 is proud of the work we’ve done in contributing to these global standards and looking forward to the plenary session in Stockholm next May!

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