Why ISO 56000 innovation management is important for CIOs

Innovation remains a top priority for CIOs and now the International Organization for Standardization, better known as ISO, offers advice on how to get this innovative work done.

ISO 56000 for innovation

The nonprofit has rolled out its ISO 56000 standards, aimed at giving business leaders a framework to embed innovation into any business. These tips could be particularly useful for CIOs who, according to various studies, still struggle to be as innovative as they want.

“Most organizations would like to be better than they are when it comes to innovation. That means a number of things: They want more ideas and they want a pipeline of incremental ideas and bigger ideas. They want to think more broadly and differently. we work on the pace of innovation; it can be slow and they want to make things happen faster, ”said Jackie Fenn, vice president and analyst at Gartner and a distinguished member of the company’s CIO Research Group.

“But what we’re really hearing is that they want a culture of innovation,” she continued. “They say it can’t just be people locked in a room somewhere – rather they want to have an environment where they value people’s ideas and show that they value people’s creativity.”

What is ISO 56000

Jackie Fenn

To this end, the ISO 56000 series presents a new framework for innovation, laying out the fundamental principles, structures and support that ISO leaders say are needed within a company to create and support innovation.

Specifically, the series provides guidance for organizations to understand and respond to changing conditions, to seek new opportunities, and to apply the knowledge and creativity of people within the organization and in collaboration with external interested parties, said Alice de Casanove, ISO president. 56,000 standard and innovation series director at Airbus.

ISO, which started working on these standards in 2013, started publishing its guidelines last year. The ISO 56002 guide for Innovation management system and ISO 56003 Tools and methods for innovation partnership were published in 2019. ISO published its Innovation management – Foundations and vocabulary in February 2020. Four more parts of the series are to come.

The committee developed the innovation standards so that they are applicable to organizations of all types and sizes, said de Casanove.

“All leaders want to move from a happy coincidence to a structured approach to innovation management,” she explained, noting that the committee has also developed these ISO 56000 innovation standards to be applicable to all functional areas including C suite, R&D teams and IT. department.

Standards are intended to help organizations establish the leadership, internal culture, and support needed to succeed in making innovation an ongoing activity that delivers results – rather than leaving it to pockets of work or inspiration. fortuitous.

“It’s to give advice. It’s not to create a new project. Our goal is to really help the organization to leverage our knowledge,” she added.

Unlike other ISO standards, this innovation framework currently does not have a certification process that allows organizations to demonstrate through an audit that they have implemented the framework.

With that in mind, and given that the standards are new, experts said it was difficult to determine whether organizations at all levels would be successful if they implemented the framework.

And while ISO officials promote the series as a useful tool for business leaders looking to boost their innovation prowess, some business leaders caution against considering the ISO series. 56000 as a panacea for all the challenges CIOs and their C suite colleagues face as they try to transform their organizations.

“I would do well to judge a company if it meets an innovation standard,” said Joseph Tobolski, CTO of digital consulting firm Nerdery.

Portrait of Joseph TobolskiJoseph Tobolski

Tobolski recognized that the ISO 56000 series of innovations could provide business leaders with insight into how to develop a culture of innovation, but he said market-related metrics would ultimately determine whether an organization is successful at this task.

“The market will answer that question for them,” he said. “Do they delight customers in a useful way? Increase income? Increase market share? Do something different that adds value to customers and the ecosystem? If they do, at this point it doesn’t matter if they follow a standard. They innovate. “

What is IS0 56000 used for

ISO leaders expect leaders and their teams to be able to use these new standards to embed innovation in their organizations, said de Casanove and others. Additionally, they said ISO guidelines are necessary because many organizations have yet to build the culture of innovation they need to keep pace with rapidly changing market conditions.

“Where people have gone wrong over the past decade is thinking that innovation starts in the lab,” said Peter Merrill, innovation specialist, president of management consulting firm Quest and member of an ISO 56000 working group.

Head of Peter MerrillPeter Merrill

“Innovation in truth begins in the market,” he added. “And people now see that innovation starts in the market with an unmet need, with something people want to do that they can’t do, or something they want to do easier.”

Organizations must be able to continuously meet these needs, Merrill explained, or they will be bankrupted by others who do. Executives know it, he said, but are still struggling in this area.

“One of the most frequent questions I get is, ‘How do I get a culture of innovation? And I say that’s the wrong question. The right question is “How do I create a culture of creativity that will coexist with the culture of execution that I already have?” “”

He said ISO standards can help them do this by cultivating the ability to continuously innovate as part of their overall operations – not separately.

“People have to become serial innovators, so they have to think of their organizations from a systems perspective,” said Merrill, author of book to be published ISO 56000 – Building an innovation management system: bring creativity and curiosity into your QMS.


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