Innovation Management – A Complete Guide to Improved Performance

CoachHub · 14 May 2021 · 14 min read

With the rising globalization and technological trends, the labor market is constantly evolving, just like the internal organizational environment. Several changes, including teleworking, sub-contracting, outsourcing, open space, and cultural diversity as putting the management role to test. Considering this evolution it would be a mistake for leaders and managers to maintain the traditional management style.

And to remain competitive in the currently saturated global market and to increase employee productivity, French companies must commit to managerial innovation.

As a manager, focus on the top 5 innovation management practices that are part of the HR trends of 2022!

1. What is Managerial Innovation?

The term ‘innovation’ is very common today, especially in the business environment where innovation is what drives sales. In order to understand the meaning of managerial innovation, it is first important to define innovation.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, innovation refers to the act of introducing something new. This not only involves creating something new, but also introducing it to the world.

Thus, ‘managerial innovation’ entails handling different activities needed to introduce a new managerial practice that aims at promoting the performance of managers in an organization. This type of innovation is considered an evolution in which the existing managerial postures and practices are transformed to promote collaboration between employees and managers. The new managerial phenomenon, therefore, creates individual development and collective performances for the organization.

Based on the above definition, managerial innovation encompasses three elements:

  • Major management transformation, which represents strategic innovation
  • New managerial practices, including collaborative management tools and process and managerial positions like leadership and communication departments
  • New collaboration approach between employees and managers to foster personal development, professional performance, and collective intelligence.

2. The Process of Managerial Innovation

Generally, a managerial innovation process consists of five essential steps, which include:

  • An organization feeling dissatisfied with the existing status quo of the management
  • Getting inspiration to change the system
  • Invention, which is triggered by both inspiration and dissatisfaction
  • Validation of the innovative practice, both from internal and external influences
  • Diffusion of the management innovation to other areas of the organization

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3. Managerial Innovation and Company Performance

The BVA for Audencia carried out a survey to understand the role of managerial innovation on the performance of a company. According to the findings, 64% of managers associate managerial innovation with improved economic performance. Another 65% of the cohort agreed that managerial innovation increases employee productivity and 40% associated the phenomenon with improved well-being at the workplace. It is, therefore, clear that managerial innovation is key to maintaining competitiveness in the international market.

However, implementing managerial innovation without enough knowledge or out of social pressure is never the solution. This type of innovation should only be done from a deep conviction, with the right human capital and effective forms of intelligence. In order to grow, a liberated company must consider managerial innovation an integral part of its corporate culture.

4. 5 Innovative Managerial Practices

There are five different types of innovation management. These include:

A. Agile Management

Agile innovation was first discovered in the early 2000s. Today it is considered the head of every industry as companies consider it the basis for digital transformation. For this reason, the innovative managerial practice puts human resources back at the center of achieving well-being and motivation at the workplace. Today, customer experience is the primary focus of every innovation strategy. Agile innovation enables companies to be more customer-oriented, providing the goods and services that foster customer satisfaction.

Is it difficult for a company to adopt agile innovation?

The number of successes witnessed from new services, projects, or companies remains low in France. Yet, the difference between these companies and those that consistently generate profits is the ability to adopt an agile project management approach.

When looking at the features of agile management, this could include the following:

  • Lightness— An agile management adopts a light leadership structure, not bureaucracy or authoritarianism. It involves the application of lean techniques in all the management processes.
  • Velocity— This means that a company only focuses on tasks that add value to the production process.
  • Speed—Agility eliminates duplication and the waiting time. The management takes action in time and offers adequate responses. The decisions made are from the well-established structured habits and training.
  • Elasticity— Agile innovation is also associated with flexibility. The management that is agile is able to adapt faster to the changing environment, and is able to return to the initial stage in every circumstance.
  • Holacracy— Agility embraces a democratic approach of leadership. This mode of matrix management ensures that company roles are distributed based on the experience and skills.
  • Dynamicity— A dynamic company is able to move continuously to adapt to changing market needs through the improvement of processes. Agility encourages anticipation, which prevents companies from being reactive in their decision-making.

Agile Management Needs Corporate Culture

Although agility is driven by digitization, the aspect of technology is not enough. It is necessary that an organization considers cultural conditions in order to establish effective work and management structures. It is, therefore, important to have clear concepts that apply to the company, including the corporate culture, location, organizational maturity, and working environment. Often, agility implies a change in the culture of an organization.

As in the case of every change, agile management may affect the way people perceive cultural transformation. Organizations should, therefore, communicate the role of the management system on the existing culture.

What are the Benefits of Agile Management?

Simply put, agility translates to better products and services. An agile managerial innovation has always been linked to new and better products in the market, reduced failures, and increased customer satisfaction. With agile management, a company is able to lower its costs and achieve better results with the business.

Agility is also linked to team productivity. Because it aligns with the organizational culture, the innovation approach boosts employees’ happiness, which results in increased customer satisfaction.

With agile thinking, organizations can boost the product flow, keep the team active, and identify and block any potential disruptions. Companies that adopt an agile management approach are able to increase their productivity.

Other linked benefits of agility include:

  • Reduced risks
  • Faster delivery in the market
  • Increased motivation and team morale
  • Increased productivity
  • Ability to manage abrupt changes

B. Frugal Management

Frugal management is the innovative style of an organization that turns resource limitations into an advantage. With frugality, a company is able to maximize its output through a reduction in the complexity of the product or production process. In established markets, frugal management allows companies to compete effectively with affordable suppliers or manufacturers, thus, making the production a cheap process.

What is the end goal of frugal innovation? Its implementation fosters a company towards being competitive, while keeping low the production cost. In other words, companies that adopt this management type are able to find innovative and economic solutions. The key principles of the management style include integration of all team members, acting and thinking flexibly, being open to constraint, keeping the production process simple, and listening to your guts.

How can a company benefit from frugal management?

A company will find frugal innovation an important element in reducing costs while increasing customer satisfaction. As a result, businesses are able to offer accessible and quality services while also maintaining profit and stability in the market.

There are different ways of innovating frugally:

  • Using a new app to promote business activities
  • Cutting unnecessary costs by eliminating non-profitable activities
  • Finding alternative technologies that support the human resource

The role of technology in frugal innovation management

Technology plays a crucial role in the marketing and designing of a company’s product. As such, accessing free or affordable platforms is the best way to improve production. The application of technology applies to several industries, including the restaurant and traveling worlds, where consumers are majorly found on online platforms.

Recognizing teleworking as one of the major management trends in this era, technology also remains critical to promote a digital culture at the workplace. Telecommunication tools such as collaborative digital platforms can help a company to maintain a link between employees working remotely. To do this, managers must practice active listening and communication in order to address the needs and difficulties encountered by the remote teams. Managing remote employees requires that organizations maintain regular contacts; using remote management and dialogue techniques such as videoconferencing and emailing frequently can enhance teamwork.

Technology can offer massive insights into the right strategy for a business at a limited cost. Managers are able to access technology platforms that utilize automation, blockchain, and artificial intelligence to improve their production processes.

C. Neuromanagement

Research in the fields of cognitive psychology, brain imaging, ethology, and neuroscience has proven that there is a correlation between brain activity and unhappiness at work. This means that companies can adopt the neuromanagement style to reduce levels of stress at the workplace. Neuromanagement focuses on creating a working atmosphere, promoting creativity, and improving the wellbeing of all employees. The management style focuses on exploring the mental processes and brain activities to understand how people react to typical challenges affecting businesses. This way, it offers insight into the social behavior of workers, including their ability to make right business decisions.

Why does neuromanagement matter?

In every organization, it is mandatory to deal with opinions, facts, logic, and emotions. With daily interactions and work performance, emotion must be experienced among the workers. These changing emotions directly influence the business outcomes, either in a positive or negative manner. Furthermore, amidst the range of innovation management software available for human resource management, it is difficult to understand and manage emotions. As such, recognizing emotions through the neuroscientific innovation management theory is an important way of improving performance.

Through neuromanagement, an organization is able to effectively manage the ways that employees influence business outcome, and can influence leadership, productivity, communication, and innovation.

Creating a human-centric working environment

Self-regulation and self-awareness are key components of emotional wellbeing. Neuromanagement however, goes beyond the emotional understanding to help how the brain of employees is wired. Consider it a roadmap that aids in the understanding of how individuals behave differently at the workplace. This way, the management team is able to understand the emotions, attitude, and mindset of every individual. Commonly practiced in liberated companies, neuromanagement helps to identify the employee-centric ways of managing emotions at work.

To create a conducive emotional environment for employees, managers should:

  • Enable job crafting
  • Address work challenges
  • Recognize and reward excellence
  • Share information and promote communication
  • Show vulnerability
  • Facilitate personal growth

When these behaviors are managed, employees’ performance can improve, which translates to a positive outcome.

In general, neuromanagement narrows down to activating employees’ cognitive mechanisms so as to improve decision-making, motivation, and memorization.

D. Manager-Coach Guided Performance Management

As of today, a successful, result-oriented manager is not just a simple team player. He is the innovation management master who can motivate his followers and achieve the company’s goals through strategic planning. For success, a performance manager is expected to develop the professional skills of workers as well as motivate them. Performance management enables employees to maintain loyalty and stay committed.

Why a manager-coach is needed for performance management

The main goal of performance coaching is not to micromanage employees, but to work with the managers and employees towards addressing performance issues and improving production. Employees who respond well to coaching can greatly contribute to the success of a business. The process helps employees become even more effective in contributing to the company’s growth. This phenomenon results from the fact that performance coaching helps in the continuous improvement process of skill and knowledge development.

It is ironic that some companies spend several years maintaining underperforming employees. Coaching is the best management approach to recruit the most competent employees whose goals align with that of the company. Coaching managers can, thus, improve employees’ potential promotional opportunities.

The role of a manager coach in promoting diversity and inclusion

Companies across the world are beginning to embrace diversity and inclusion. To promote female leadership, the French Building Federation is facilitating several campaign programs that can build women. Considering this new HR trend, a manager coach can help a company to focus on promoting diversity in the workplace.

The manager coach will, therefore, be expected to guide the team on workplace diversity through a diversity program that promotes collaboration and teamwork while addressing cases of discrimination. The diversity management program should cover multicultural topics such as non-violent communication, team spirit, time management, assertiveness, relational intelligence, and empathy.

Steps to hiring a performance management coach

If you believe that performance management coaching is something that your organization needs, some of the factors to consider during hiring are highlighted below

Boost employees’ self-esteem—It is the role of a performance coach to create an environment that makes the employees develop a sense of self-worth. The performance coach works with both the management and employees to improve performance and ensure excellence. The coach should adopt a positive feedback approach to boost confidence in the team.

Be honest— In business, sugar-coating can ruin the end-goal. Managers should be able to offer constructive criticism without fear or intimidation. Performance coaches should be able to explain and show their reasons for critique and how performance can be improved. The feedback process can create an environment that encourages employees to be honest.

Willing to seek help— Today, coaching and management styles have become more about performance development and feedback inspiration. Employees always want to share their views and input with the company; the role of a performance coach is to ensure that this process happens effortlessly. The involvement of employees in the performance management system will ensure complete engagement and sound decision-making. As such, performance coaches should know when to engage employees and share ideas with the organization.

Active listening— A performance coach should understand that mistakes are bound to happen. They should actively listen to the team while making decisions, and always be open to feedback from their coaches. A listening coach is able to gain great insight into the company as well as build trust and improve communication. Apart from paying full attention to the employees, a performance coach should be able to make sure that the coaches observe positive results of active listening and encourage them to share ideas relating to the business.

Offering team support— Coaching professionals that apply for innovation management jobs must be able to offer team support. As a coach, it is important to have a support system, just like employees. Unlike toxic managers, the coach should have empathy to be able to address the challenges that employees face. Thus, the coach should identify the effective communication styles and work values of employees and managers and correctly tailor these to the mentoring and training process.

E. Manager Facilitator

With the development of liberated working environments, managers predict the end of the directive management system. From now on, managers no longer have the role of leading, but rather supporting. Thus, the manager loses his hierarchical status and joins the ranks of collaborators. Knowing better the workings of the organization and the vision of the company, he then becomes a facilitator for his team.

What is the role of a manager as a facilitator?

Facilitators guide employees through different organizational processes to produce positive results. Managers who are facilitators chair meetings, development sessions, training, and team building events where the workforce is involved in achieving the goals of the organization. A facilitator integrates processes and structures into interactions so that employees can function efficiently to achieve desired results.

A facilitator is needed to create a successful group. This means that managers need to address any conflict that can hinder the success of a company. While conflict may not seem damaging at first, it can lead to customer dissatisfaction and disintegration within the team. Effective facilitation skills is, thus, important to keep the team in check and ensure relationships remain intact.

Everyone at the organization benefits greatly from facilitation Team leaders and supervisors are more likely to benefit most because they get to work with collaborative teams that are channeled towards an agenda chosen for the company’s outcome. This means that a manager facilitator should be able to set the ground rules that are helpful in streamlining the performance of the team.

5. Professional Coaching to Support Managers

Professional coach remains to be a crucial element of innovation management. While companies are still transitioning to the managerial innovation style, there is a need for coaches to direct managers on how to enhance performance.

Managers draw many questions when it comes to change management: How do we organize our time? How can we communicate our managerial innovation plans? How do we ensure employee engagement? How can we tame the new innovation management role of managers? To support the transformation and allow managers to successfully take the company through successful innovation, professional coaching is necessary.

A professional coach will ensure that managers and employees have the skills needed to implement innovation change through individualized support coaching and also ensure that there is an integration of company processes to improve performance with resource constraints. At CoachHub, we ensure that every business utilizes digital coaching for the best results. Innovation management is not just enough, right coaching ensures that the management style becomes profitable to an organization.

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