Lawyers study law, bankers study finance, doctors study medicine, translators study linguistics, engineers study physics, chefs study culinary arts, directors study filmography and I study innovation management. At this point, I am usually facing blank stares, polite smiles, while everybody is trying to guess my background and what I do for a living! Even a few of you (MUNplaneters) messaged me asking similar questions, thus inspiring me to respond via this post.
Q. How are innovation studies linked to entrepreneurship?
Joseph Schumpeter. Schumpeter is one of the most influential economist of the 20th century, author of the highly-debated book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, in whichhe argued that the evolution of capitalism revolves around innovation and entrepreneurship. In a given industry, at a given time, a company enjoys some degree of monopoly. These potential high profits incent entrepreneurs to compete for developing new ground breaking products/processes. Once a small company owns a radical innovation it becomes the new monopoly. The latter will continue to innovate incrementally until a new entrepreneur debunks it. This theory can be illustrated by the crossover from steam to coal engines, from film to digital cameras, or from cassette tapes to online streaming.
Q. What is innovation management?
Within a company/start-up, innovation management has two pillars:
1-Project management (over the short term): managing new ideas from early stage concept to final implementation.
2-Organisational development (over the long term): sustaining pre-gained competitive advantages by shaping new framework conditions.
Q. Who is an innovation manager?
An innovation manager is someone with an MSc in Economics. Curriculums vary, but fundamentally he/she attended lectures about project management, knowledge economy, marketing innovation, intellectual property law, financial and risk analysis, cooperative and corporate social responsibly strategies, economics of quality and organisations, territorial and international development.
Q. What is defined as an innovation?
Based on Oslo’s Manual, the world’s innovation bible, an innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations – (3rd edition, 2005).
To conclude, it is worth mentioning that no two days are alike when you are an innovation manager. You are constantly introduced to different industries, and surrounded by creativity.