Innovation and creativity have both been very important to the growth and development of technology. Both have always had a very close relationship with human beings. Creative thinking has been an important survival skill since the creation of mankind. It has helped man go beyond what worked in the past in every endeavour, and come up with new approaches. In recent times, there have been substantive changes in the global economy, which makes it absolutely essential for any nation to sharpen its technological competitiveness, which is a direct outcome of its innovative capability.
The scenario today is represented by phenomena like the enhanced frequency of innovations, shortening of techno-economic life cycles, rapid generation and commercialization of new technologies, globalization of transnationals, strategic alliancing of large firms, intensive R&D programs, difficulty in accessing critical technologies, large multi-country R&D projects, large countries being threatened bynewly industrialized countries and such others, in each of which the over-riding influence has been that of INNOVATION.
Perspectives pertaining to research and development (R&D), which is an important component of innovation management, have undergone a number of changes over the years. At first, R&D primarily referred to basic research, efforts were mostly scientific in nature and were directed around 'discovery of the unknown'. Some of these inventions and discoveries were further developed to satiate the needs and curiosity of mankind and this is how R&D became application oriented. Later, when industries began to be established, R&D had to be necessarily inducted into organizational structures. Slowly, innovation became part of industry and over a period of time, the separate domains of Science and Technology started merging.
Today, activities related to R&D and innovation, need to have a prominent place in the management systems of companies, businesses and nations.
Corporations must be able to adapt and evolve if they wish to survive. Businesses opertae with the knowledge that their competitors will inevitably come to the market with the product that changes the basis of competitio. The ablility to change and adapt is essential to survive.
'... not to innovate is to die' wrote Christopher Freeman (1982) in his famous study of the economics of innovation. Innovation has long been argued to be the engine of growth.
Innovation management is the discipline of managing processes in innovation. It can be used to develop both product and organizational innovation. Without proper processes, it is not possible for R&D to be efficient; innovation management includes a set of tools that allow managers and engineers to cooperate with a common understanding of goals and processes. The focus of innovation management is to allow the organization to respond to an external or internal opportunity, and use its creative efforts to introduce new ideas, processes or products. Importantly, innovation management is not relegated to R&D; it involves workers at every level in contributing creatively to a company's development, manufacturing, and marketing. By utilizing appropriate innovation management tools, management can trigger and deploy the creative juices of the whole work force towards the continuous development of a company. The process can be viewed as an evolutionary integration of organization, technology and market by iterating series of activities: search, select, implement and capture.
In the knowledge-driven economy, innovation has become