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Managing innovation in a knowledge intensive technology organisation (KITO)

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Abstract:

This study aims to add to the existing knowledge of how innovation works in organisations. By understanding how to assess/evaluate processes that support and enable innovation, managers can better manage innovation as a business process. This paper addresses elements of organisational behaviour that relate to people management where innovation and technology management is concerned. Perception plays a crucial role in driving behaviour and therefore the widely accepted business scorecard methodology has been used to measure innovation practices in the organisation. The research was done in a knowledge intensive technology organisation (KITO) in South Africa. Interviews with managers of R&D were conducted. These interviews were used to adapt an existing audit instrument to suit the technology–based organisation. Thereafter, a comprehensive audit of innovation was conducted at three different management levels using the adapted instrument. Over 100, mostly R&D managers, were asked to complete a scorecard–based questionnaire and to draw a visual representation (VR) of innovation. The results of the interviews, audit and VRs were used to produce a management framework that is not only applicable to a KITO, but can also be used widely to improve innovation through enhanced visual understanding of any technology–based organisation. The results of the study indicate that measuring innovation through a validated instrument is highly valuable. The Holistic System Framework for innovation and the measurement instrument facilitated (1) management of, and (2) organisational learning about innovation. The comprehensive audit indicated, on a strategic level, the strengths and weaknesses of the innovation process as practised in the organisation. The instrument is valuable at a strategic management level as it indicates where in the organisation the gaps exist regarding the management of the process of innovation with the aim to create a competitive advantage.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9310.00272

Affiliations: 1: Innovation Initiative South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa  colegrin@mweb.co.za 2: Water Research Commission, Pretoria, South Africa  rkfir@wrc.org.za

Publication date: 2002-11-01

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