Innovation management

Successfully embedding innovation management in the company

Innovation management is one of the most challenging and pioneering roles in the company: Innovation ensures sustainable commercial success by improving existing products and services or creating entirely new product ideas and business models. In recent years, therefore, innovation methods such as design thinking and lean startup have become increasingly prevalent in companies. However, simply copying concepts from creative and innovative start-ups does not guarantee innovative success. Instead, innovation processes should be individually tailored to the company and its goals. This is where corporate innovation comes in. The aim is to systematically embed innovation management in the culture, organization and processes of the company.

In their innovation projects, many companies focus on introducing new technologies to optimize production. However, innovation management ought to be given broader consideration. Corporate innovation is therefore geared towards comprehensive change that affects all employees. After all, it is in their minds that new ideas are born. A company’s ability to innovate improves when employees are involved, there is room for creativity, experimentation is allowed and setbacks are accepted. If innovation is a high priority in the corporate culture, the benefits are manifold: Companies can respond more flexibly to market developments and customer needs, develop products faster and place them on the market with great success. At the same time, the risk of undesirable developments is reduced.



A man points to a technical Lego model.
© Fraunhofer IEM/ Wolfram Schroll
Innovation management provides room for creativity and experimentation.

What we are researching and working on

Corporate innovation requires a holistic approach. That is why we develop and test strategies and methods throughout the entire innovation process. In doing so, we systematically merge the perspectives of the company and the customer and develop tailored solutions to strengthen a company’s core business and promote innovation away from the core business. We apply start-up methods to the day-to-day work of manufacturing companies, evaluate product ideas, build prototypes and evaluate customer feedback in order to advance the further development of a product idea or business idea. We focus on individual strategy development and close cooperation with industry to ensure that the methods and tools are highly practicable.

We also explore the use of new technologies to optimize innovation management. For example, artificial intelligence methods can verify and increase the effectiveness and appeal of new products - for example, through data-based detection of changes in customer behavior. At the same time, we assess innovation approaches resulting from the digitalization of products and processes, including digital platforms, augmented reality and smart services.