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  • Writer's pictureDr. Babette Sonntag

The biggest challenges in innovation management and how to overcome them - Part 2

Tape Caution
Overcoming challenges

Innovation itself is a big challenge for most companies. If we look closely, we can discover a lot of other challenges in innovation management at the operational level that innovation managers and project managers deal with on a daily basis.

What are the most important of these in my opinion and what approaches could be helpful?

Here you can find my thoughts on this.

I continue with the second part of this topic and my #4 to #6.

#4 Missing networks

To be truly creative and to see and understand important trends, your innovation team must be open to the outside world. If you don't have networks with external experts, you won't get any feedback or insights into what's going on in the market and what the next hot topics are. You'll only be half as good as you could be.

#4 Ideas for improvement

Ask yourself who are the experts in your industry. These can be individuals, e.g. professors at universities or innovators in partner companies. But they can also be entire networks, such as industry associations or research networks. Talk to them. Ask them directly whether they would like to exchange ideas and trends with you. Think of specific topics, questions from your innovation environment that you can bring up as an icebreaker. Most people you speak to will be happy and react positively. That is at least my experience. These networks are worth their weight in gold.


#5 Inappropriate skill set in the innovation sector

If it is always the same people who work on innovation projects, they may become less creative over time. This is because they do not have the opportunity to recharge their minds. It is also common that attention is focussed to only employ technological experts in innovation. As a result the customer and market perspective and playing with new ideation methods is being neglected.

#5 Ideas for improvement

It is important to pay attention to the following skills when recruiting people for innovation teams:

  • creativity

  • free-spirited thinking, which finds shortcuts in existing business processes

  • courage

  • communication skills

In my opinion, an ideal approach is to rotate employees within the company. By this I mean letting employees from other departments work in the innovation area for the duration of an innovation project. Afterwards, they will take the spirit of innovation and hopefully the enthusiasm back to their home department.


#6 Phase transitions as show stoppers

The transition from innovation to the standard business of the company is particularly critical. In the standard business units, there are often annual targets and every activity is geared towards efficiency. A new product that is not yet fully integrated into the processes and procedures is disruptive. Sales can only be achieved in 2-3 years and the effort required until then is too high.

#6 Ideas for improvement

Make sure that an innovation is supported by the innovation team for as long as possible. Ideally - and unfortunately this is the exception so far - the innovation department is an independent business unit with its own resources, budget and innovation brand. If this is not the case, I believe that the standard units must also have binding innovation goals.



There are certainly many more types and definitions of innovations and innovators. Of course, the specific form is different in every company. Accordingly, there are a lot of challenges in innovation management. Therefore, openness is the key to success. Regularly ask in the company and in your professional environment about difficulties and challenges of innovation. What solution ideas do others have? Collect the ideas regularly and share them to find the best solutions together with colleagues.

What do you see as the biggest challenge? How do you deal with it?

More background information on this topic can be found in my other blog posts:

Please note: This text is translated into English by using Google Translate - I apologize for any mistakes in this text I may have overlooked.


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