What are 5 Core Competencies of Innovation Management

innovation management competencies

In the rapidly evolving world of business, staying at the forefront of innovation is not just an advantage but a necessity. The Innovation Management (IM) Framework introduces a structured approach towards mastering this art. Let’s delve into the five core competencies of innovation management that set organizations apart.

The Five Core Competencies of Innovation Management (IM)

Innovation management is a multifaceted discipline. It comprises various competencies that together foster an environment conducive to generating breakthrough ideas and products. Here’s an overview of these competencies:

Competency 1: Idea Management

At the heart of innovation lies the ability to dream up groundbreaking ideas. Idea Management is the first competency of innovation management. It focuses on activities such as Boundary Spanning, Technology Scouting, and Applied Research. This competency ensures that an organization can effectively identify and assimilate information about new technologies or ideas, leading to highly differentiated products and services. The key is creating an organizational climate where ideas are valued and pursued with vigor. This is often achieved through direct involvement from management in ideation processes.

Idea Management is like a treasure hunt within a company, where the goal is to find/generate, evaluate, and pick the best new ideas or technologies that can create unique and standout products or services.

Competency 2: Market Management

Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum; it responds to market needs and preferences. Market Management, therefore, is about selecting market opportunities that promise the greatest value to both the organization and its customers. Through activities like market segmentation and customer preference analysis, this competency ensures that products and services meet the market’s evolving demands. This in turn secures long-term competitiveness and profitability.

Market Management is about spotting the best opportunities in the market and creating products or services that are both valuable to customers and beneficial for the company.

Competency 3: Portfolio Management

Balancing a diverse set of innovation projects aligned with the business strategy is crucial. Portfolio Management involves assessing the risk and reward of projects, ensuring that resources are allocated to projects that promise the highest economic return. This competency is about maintaining a balanced portfolio that aligns with strategic objectives while being responsive to market and strategy shifts.

Portfolio Management is like managing a garden of different plants (projects), making sure they fit the garden’s theme (business strategy), are well-arranged (balanced), and grow the best fruits (economic return).

Competency 4: Platform Management

Efficiency and innovation often go hand in hand. Platform Management is about leveraging common building blocks across a family of products or services. It helps in reducing costs, and speeding time to market. This competency requires a deep understanding of market needs and the ability to design modular systems that can serve multiple market segments effectively.

Platform Management is like building a Lego set, where you design a plan and use interchangeable pieces to create a whole series of products or services efficiently and cohesively.

Competency 5: Project Management

Finally, guiding projects to successful completion is essential for realizing the strategic and economic values intended. Project Management ensures that innovation projects are not only completed on time and within budget but also align with the organization’s broader strategic goals. Effective project management involves clear milestones, fact-based decision-making, and resource allocation to keep the project pipeline flowing smoothly.

Project Management is like being the captain of a ship, steering projects from start to finish to make sure they reach the destination of success, exactly as planned.

The Dimensions and Levels of Innovation Management

While we have outlined the core competencies, it’s important to note that innovation management is a complex field with various dimensions and levels. These aspects need further exploration to understand how organizations can systematically improve their innovation capabilities.


The IM Framework provides a comprehensive guide for organizations aiming to harness the power of innovation. Mastering the competencies of Idea Management, Market Management, Portfolio Management, Platform Management, and Project Management is vital for any organization’s growth and long-term health.