New ISO standard for innovation management is key to unlocking the potential of the Irish SME sector

Irish SMEs will soon be able to play an even bigger role in Ireland’s economic success. The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and Skillnet Ireland have joined forces to launch a new ISO standard on innovation management system and an Aligned Innovation Excellence (IEP) program, to help increase productivity levels in the sector.

As part of a unique dual launch of the ISO Standard and Innovation Excellence Program, organizations will learn how to successfully implement and manage innovation by delivering solutions that meet real customer needs. The ISO standard is the foundation on which this exciting new program is built.

As organizations are challenged to innovate, evolve and increase their bottom line, standards can have an important role to play in this journey. The combination of these two frameworks offers small and medium-sized enterprises the opportunity to move up the ranks of the value chain.

An organization’s ability to innovate is widely recognized as a key factor for profitable and sustainable growth and economic viability, made possible by increasing sales of innovative solutions to customers in competitive global markets. The innovative capabilities of an organization include the ability to understand and respond to changing conditions, to seek new opportunities, and to leverage the knowledge and creativity of people within the organization and in collaboration with parties. stakeholders and external partners.

Organizations that proactively manage innovation activities will be faster to seize opportunities, react to challenges and manage associated risks, and will ultimately be more likely to take effective action and achieve lasting success. The ISO framework promotes entrepreneurship and innovation, while giving business owners the confidence to manage uncertainty.

This provides a huge opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses of all types in all parts of the country. ISO 56002 can also be a valuable platform to facilitate interactions between SMEs and foreign multinationals, thereby improving the productivity benefits.

A recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) identified productivity issues in the Irish SME sector. He found that the productivity gap of large companies here versus SMEs is widening. About 99.8 per cent of Irish businesses are SMEs and it is extremely important to increase productivity levels among them.

Currently, less than 7 percent of Irish SMEs export their products and services, a small number compared to the European average, according to OECD Deputy Secretary General Ulrik Vestergaard.

The findings of the OECD review have also contributed to the formulation of policies aimed at fostering the growth of the SME sector, as outlined in the government’s Future Jobs Strategy.

NSAI Senior Standards Officer Paul Killeen believes the launch of the Standard and Innovation Excellence program will help Ireland meet the productivity and competitiveness challenges for SMEs outlined in the OECD report.

Paul Killeen of NSAI

“The new ISO series of guidance standards on innovation management, developed by innovation experts around the world, provide international best practices on the systematic management of innovation activities in organizations of all types, including including SMEs.

“The standard provides practical tools and methods on how SMEs can efficiently and consistently deliver new products and services to their customers on an ongoing basis. “

The Innovation Excellence program was designed by Skillnet Ireland in partnership with NSAI and is based on the best practices outlined in the new ISO 56000 family of standards. During the 12 weeks of the program, companies will be helped to develop their innovation capabilities in a structured, sustainable and measurable way.

Skillnet Ireland chief technologist Mark Jordan says the introduction of the new ISO guidance standard will establish some of the best practices for testing theories, measuring impact and executing the ideas that bring true innovation to life.

Mark Jordan from Skillnet Ireland

“The Excellence in Innovation Program will provide the necessary tools, skills and working practices directly to Irish businesses – developing a process and platform for the generation of new ideas and strategies. This program will allow companies to become more creative and impactful in their approach to solving business challenges.

“At Skillnet Ireland, we see a future of intense change, and innovation will be at the heart of everything we do. We’re excited to support this collaborative initiative, which will facilitate the connections that propel people and businesses to find new ways to thrive in an ever-changing world.

To learn more about the ISO 56002 innovation management standard, contact or follow Twitter .

To register your interest in the Excellence in Innovation Program (IEP), send an email to

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