An innovation manager is an innovating professional inside a company that seeks and develops ideas and handles innovative projects that lead to higher efficiency and profits in an organization. An innovation manager is also a type of enabler who creates processes and structures so that innovation can occur in an organization. These professionals are also promoters who work to persuade and disseminate information to encourage innovative processes and solutions.
Some of the potential roles of an innovation manager are:
- Idea finder
- Idea manager
- Scouter for innovation
- Continuous improvement process manager
- Innovation strategist
- Organizational developer
- Innovation project manager
What Is Innovation Management?
Innovation management refers to a combination of both the management of innovation processes and change management. It includes a set of tools that allows engineers and managers to cooperate with one another with a complete understanding of processes and goals.
Innovation management is the promotion of innovations in an organization systematically and includes such tasks as planning, organization, control and management. Innovation management deals with all of the measures to increase innovation in companies and to generate measurable benefits, such as:
- New services and products to serve and dominate new markets
- Enhanced products and services to stand out from competitors
- Improve processes inside the company to increase company strength and to increase efficiency
- Develop new business models to find new sources of income
Innovation management is about shaping framework conditions so that new ideas can always be created in the organization in a dynamic way and fully implemented. It also is about the act of innovation itself, active searching, development and implementation of new ideas with a high level of creativity and project management.
Innovation management is somewhat different than improvement. Improvement is implementing something new, but with a slower degree of novelty.
As the US economy and world economy is growing and expanding a decade after the last downturn, there are many opportunities developing for businesses to expand and for new ones to be formed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports general growth of business and financial organizations will increase by 10% by 2026, which is faster than average. By that year, there will be 773,000 or more new jobs created.
The increasingly competitive global marketplace in this growing business and financial economy means there will be more need for innovation to occur at all levels of business. This will be essential for companies to increase their market share in a strong economy.
There are many career paths where innovation management degree skills could be extremely important. One of fastest growing for many career opportunities is that of management analyst. A management analyst is a business consultant who is critical for helping to improve the efficiency of an organization. Many management analysts use innovation management strategies to advise managers and executives on how to make companies more profitable.
As of 2017, there were 806,000 management analysts working in the US in these fields:
- Professional, scientific and technical services: 30%
- Self employed: 17%
- Government: 17%
- Finance and insurance: 11%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 5%
As noted above, management analysts and consultants are some of the most common users of innovation management skills learned in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. The median salary for these workers today is $82,400, with the top 10% earning more than $152,000 per year. Salaries break down in this role according to the following industries:
- Professional, scientific and technical services: $87,400
- Management of companies and enterprises: $82,900
- Finance and insurance: $81,700
- Government: $78,100
Also, Indeed.com reports the average salary for an innovation manager is $102,000 per year, according to 721 salaries submitted online anonymously.
According to Indeed.com, below are some of the companies and salaries for innovation managers:
- Liberty Mutual: $139,500
- ITW: $110,600
- Georgia Pacific: $106,100
- Proctor and Gamble: $136,500
- Nike: $80,000
- Maddock Douglas: $68,200
- Anheuser-Busch: $109,300
- Search Praxis: $146,000
- Samsung: $108,300
- Robert Half Finance: $66,100
- FPC Atlanta: $141,000
- Experis: $113,000
To get a good start in this growing career field, there are bachelor’s degrees that will give you the basic skills needed to work in innovation management. Northcentral University now offers a bachelor’s degree in technology and innovation management that will prepare you for a dynamic role leading and managing business teams.
To take your innovation management career to the highest level, there are master’s programs available, such as the Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship available at Temple University. Available tracks include innovation strategy, entrepreneurship and technology and innovation management.
Below are common requirements for professionals who want to enter a master’s degree program in innovation management:
- Undergraduate degree in business, accounting, finance or related
- College transcripts
- GMAT or GRE scores may be required unless you qualify for a waiver
- Three letters of recommendation
- Updated resume
- 0 GPA may be required
Below are the course requirements for the aforementioned master’s program at Temple University:
- Principles of Strategy and Management
- Business Model Innovation
- Innovation Intelligence
- Management of Technology and Innovation
- Entrepreneurial Thinking
Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in innovation management requires a substantial time and monetary investment. Fortunately, there are scholarships and grants available that can help you to defray some of these costs. Here are a few options:
- Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity – $20,000
- MSc Global Innovation Management International Scholarship: $7500
- Aerosmith Scholarship: $500
- Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship: $20,000
- Charlie Corr Memorial Scholarship: $2000
- David and Jeannie Price Scholarship: $3000
- Dean Carlson Honorary Scholarship: $2500
Below are some certifications you can earn to enhance your management credentials so that you can succeed in innovation management:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Master Project Manager (MPM)
- Professional in Project Management (PPM)
- Certified Project Director
- Certified Associate in Project Management
Below are some associations to consider joining if you are interested in innovation management and related management fields:
- American Management Association
- The Leadership Development Organization – NMA
- American Society of Association Executives
- Association for Managers of Innovation
- International Association of Innovation Professionals
What Are Qualities of an Innovation Manager?
If you are considering a degree in innovation management, below are some of the qualities you will grow over time in this degree program and in your career to be successful:
- Organization: A good innovation manager is able to plan, organize and carry out critical projects on time and on budget, while keeping an eye on time, financial resources and personnel.
- Goal oriented: The goal of any innovation manager is innovation, which is a sum of the invention and success in the marketplace. A good innovation manager must be able to deliver the business goal on time.
- Eloquence: Innovation managers need to be able to speak the language of many different departments and also that of customers, suppliers and partners.
- Learner: Innovation managers deal with things that are new all the time. It is important to be able to perceive and learn things quickly.
- Curiosity: It is important to be able to recognize trends early on. It will help if you are intensely curious about new developments in the marketplace.
- Challenging: Innovation management means not being shy of conflicts. You will be dealing with change in a company so it is common to meet resistance.
Now that you understand more about an innovation management degree and career, hopefully you can decide if you want to pursue this exciting career field.
- Definition of Innovation Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lead-innovation.com/english-blog/definition-innovation-management
- Competencies of an Innovation Manager. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lead-innovation.com/english-blog/competencies-of-an-innovation-manager
- Why, What and How of Management Innovation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2006/02/the-why-what-and-how-of-management-innovation
- Business and Financial Occupations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm