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A Closer Look at ISO 56002 Innovation Management System

Explore the newly developed ISO 56000 Series of International Standards on Innovation Management Systems, and learn how your organization can establish a strategic, structured and standardized framework for continuous improvement and sustainable success

Reviewed every 5 years, the ISO 56000 Standard on Innovation Management Systems (IMS) is an all-encompassing set of standard operating procedures designed to provide a general framework for all organizations, regardless of type, sector, or size, whether established, temporary or starting, toward the successful implementation, maintenance, and continual improvement of an innovation management system.

The standard also provides guidance for all types of innovations, such as products, services, processes, business models and methods ranging from incremental to radical, as well as all types of approaches, such as internal and open innovation for user-, market-, technology-, and design-driven innovation activities.

Implementing a system and program based on the ISO 56000 Standards will give your organization first-mover advantage, safeguard your organization’s future while boosting positive return on innovation investments, and allow your organization to successfully operationalize innovation management as a core competency.

An organization’s ability to innovate is recognized as a key factor for sustained growth, economic viability, increased well-being, and the development of society.
The innovation capabilities of an organization include the ability to understand and respond to changing conditions of its context, to pursue new opportunities, and to leverage the knowledge and creativity of people within the organization, and in collaboration with external interested parties.
An organization can innovate more effectively and efficiently if all necessary activities and other interrelated or interacting elements are managed as a system.
An innovation management system guides the organization to determine its innovation vision, strategy, policy, and objectives, and to establish the support and processes needed to achieve the intended outcomes.
The potential benefits of implementing an innovation management system in accordance with the ISO 56002:2019 are:
  1. increased ability to manage uncertainty;
  2. increased growth, revenues, profitability, and competitiveness;
  3. reduced costs and waste, and increased productivity and resource efficiency;
  4. improved sustainability and resilience;
  5. increased satisfaction of users, customers, citizens, and other interested parties;
  6. sustained renewal of the portfolio of offerings;
  7. engaged and empowered people in the organization;
  8. increased ability to attract partners, collaborators, and funding;
  9. enhanced reputation and valuation of the organization;
  10. facilitated compliance with regulations and other relevant requirements.

Innovation management principles

The ISO 56002:2019 is based on innovation management principles. An innovation management principle includes a statement of the principle, a rationale of why the principle is important for the organization, some examples of benefits associated with the principle, and finally examples of actions the organization can take to improve performance when applying the principle.
The following principles are the foundation of the innovation management system:
  1. realization of value;
  2. future-focused leaders;
  3. strategic direction;
  4. culture;
  5. exploiting insights;
  6. managing uncertainty;
  7. adaptability;
  8. systems approach.
The principles can be considered as an open set to be integrated and adapted within the organization.

Innovation management system

An innovation management system is a set of interrelated and interacting elements, aiming for the realization of value. It provides a common framework to develop and deploy innovation capabilities, evaluate performance, and achieve intended outcomes.
The elements can be gradually adopted to implement the system according to the particular context and circumstances of the organization. Full benefits can be gained when all the elements of the innovation management system, are adopted by the organization.
Ultimately, the effective implementation of the innovation management system relies on the commitment by top management and the ability of leaders to promote innovation capabilities and a culture supporting innovation activities.

Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle

The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle enables continual improvement of the innovation management system to ensure that the innovation initiatives and processes are adequately supported, resourced, and managed, and that opportunities and risks are identified and addressed by the organization.
The PDCA cycle can be applied to the innovation management system as a whole or its parts. The cycle is informed and directed by the Context of the Organization (Section 4) and its Leadership (Section 5).
The Context of the Organization clearly determines and defines the needs and expectations of interested parties as it pertains to innovation (this includes the Scope, Type, Area and Category), whereas Leadership covers the innovation policy as well as organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities.
The cycle can be briefly described as follows:
  • Plan: Establish the objectives and determine the actions needed to address opportunities and risks (Section 6);
  • Implement what is planned in terms of support and operations (Section 7 and 8);
  • Check: Monitor and (where applicable) measure results against objectives (Section 9);
  • Act: Take actions to continually improve the performance of the innovation management system (Section 10).

ISO 56000 Series of Standards

The ISO 56000 series contains the following standards, all of which can be purchased on