Innovation management: implementing a value chain

Innovation is the latest focus for business strategy worldwide, and with ever-increasing pressures on funding and resources, it is little wonder. But it’s not just about coming up with new ideas. An innovation value chain ensures these ideas progress to funding, are converted to products and, finally, distributed across the company or, in this case, the mining industry.

The Parque Cientifico Technologico (PC&T) is a collaborative project with the Universidad Catolica Del Norte (UCN) to generate an industry of advanced mining services and innovation in the Antofagasta region of Chile. The purpose of the center is to gradually replace imports and generate export potential to guarantee the sustainability of the region beyond the depletion of minerals.

Without an efficient value chain, good ideas may go unfunded, undeveloped and unrealized.

The aim behind establishing an innovation management value chain for the PC&T was to help in responding to the research and development needs of the industry, regional and national community, and to help position UCN as a leader in innovation management in the mining industry.

For the PC&T to fulfil its goals, the innovations coming out of the center need to be managed in a way that ensures they reach their full potential. Without an efficient value chain, good ideas may go unfunded, undeveloped and unrealized. This can become a corporate problem because creative employees quickly become disillusioned when none of the ideas that emerge during brainstorming sessions ever see the light of day. Such employees eventually leave to find a more innovative place to work.

A value chain innovation management framework covers internal and external influences that support the business and its products. Designing and implementing an effective value chain for innovation management involves several processes.

These processes fall under three stages:

  1. Upstream innovation: where the ideas and problems of the industry are measured and analyzed using a diverse team, with differing expertise, to find a solution under an open innovation management framework.
  2. Idea development: where the creation of ideas are stimulated, promoted, evaluated and selected.
  3. Downstream innovation: in this final stage, the idea is taken on as an innovation project, where it is researched, developed and implemented.

When it comes to innovation management, one model will not fit all and, certainly, will not work for a complex and diverse innovation ecosystem such as that present in a university. The EY innovation model was created in response to this need: to help companies manage innovation. In order for it to be implemented effectively and produce successful results, it requires the identification of key needs and stakeholders.

The complete article was written by:

  • Eugenio Cantuarias
    Senior Manager, Performance Improvement, EY Chile

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