Towards a management system standard for innovation

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Joanne Hyland
Magnus Karlsson


The purpose of this letter is to provide background and rationale for developing a management system standard to further the profession of innovation management. A systems approach is not new; however, the ISO 56002 Innovation management system - guidance standard is providing a common language and framework for building an innovation capability. The letter describes the innovation management principles and the system elements. We have heard that even having a standard for innovation management is an oxymoron. The publication of ISO 56002 in 2019 has triggered a broader conversation about the merits and drawbacks of a management system standard for innovation work. Some issues have been pointed out by Joe Tidd in his review and critical assessment of the standard (Tidd, 2021). As experts involved in drafting the standard, we can offer informed perspectives of this assessment by focusing on four topics related to context, innovation strategy, adaptable processes and tools, and process versus system approaches. These perspectives are ours alone and do not represent the views of the ISO Working Group. We invite the community to engage in this discussion to evolve our thinking about standardization for innovation management.

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