ISO 56002: an important ally for the challenges of innovation

You’ve probably heard of ISO 9001, haven’t you? It’s one of the most important international quality certifications. And the widely-recognized ISO 14001 standard is used for environmental management processes. Yet few people know that there is also an ISO standard dedicated to Innovation Management, known as ISO 56002, whose guidelines are aimed at contributing to business performance in innovation.

You may be wondering: Innovation is usually disruptive and innovative. What does this have to do with a standardized approach like the ISO? Will standardization accelerate or suffocate the innovation process? Bureaucratic processes can in fact create bottlenecks that do not provide the freedom needed for creative and disruptive processes.

So how can an ISO standard be good for innovation?

As innovation changes business models and organizational cultures, having a management system can help organizations to tackle the challenges of innovation. With a systematic approach to innovation management, processes can be organized and gaps can be easily identified. This is why the ISO has been working to create a series of standards in the ISO 560 Innovation Management family.

The Technical Committee: ISO/TC 279 Innovation Management is responsible for this work, defining a variety of standardized guidelines to optimize innovation management systems, some of which are already available, while others are still in the development and publication process.

Based on the best business experience in 163 countries, which contributed to the best innovation practices, this set of guidelines shows what works in the widest variety of scenarios and it can be used by companies of all sizes that want to build management systems that support innovation and its benefits.

What is ISO 56002?

Unlike other ISO standards, 56002 does not contain requirements, but rather guidelines. So it isn’t the company that needs to comply to the standard, oftentimes leading to more read tape in its process, instead the standard complies to the company. The standard has a vast range of possibilities, with the company choosing the right approach and tools for its organization, considering its market, culture and objectives.

ISO 56002 was created in 2019 to guide organizations in defining its vision, strategy, policy and innovation objectives, acting to provide guidelines and structures to ensure continual improvement of innovation management systems and determining a common language and standards.

What is Innovation Management?

Innovation management involves planning, organizing, leading, motivating and controlling resources to develop or improve new products, processes or business models that add value for customers and the organization.

It covers all of the activities needed to:

  • Create new products and services to enter new markets (as well as current markets):
  • Enhance products and services to stand apart from the competition;
  • Optimize internal processes to minimize costs;
  • Ensure that ideas generated are implemented in successful innovations.

Innovation management also encompasses creation of a culture of innovation at the organization, portfolio management and innovation project management, innovation panels and performance reporting.

How is idea management different?

Both innovation management and idea management are fundamental to the innovation process; however, it’s no surprise that many people confuse them.

Idea management is the process of collecting, developing, selecting and prioritizing the best ideas, including a structured process for managing all idea-related activities.

Innovation management, on the other hand, manages the entire innovation process, including idea management, which is why a lot of people can mix these terms up. In other words, idea management is part of the larger concept of innovation management.

Which companies can use ISO 56002?

This standard can be used by any company, of any size, and is applicable to:

  • Organizations and other stakeholders that want to have a standardized understanding of what makes an innovation management system;
  • Companies that are looking for continued success and the ability to manage innovative activities;
  • Customers, stakeholders, employees and other interested parties that are looking for reliability and assurance in an organization’s innovation management capabilities;
  • Consulting firms and institutions that promote development in innovation management;
  • Public institutions that are looking to become more effective and make better use of programs supporting innovation and societal development.

It’s important to note that all of the standard’s guidelines apply to:

  • All kinds of organizations, regardless of type, sector or size;
  • Every type of innovation (products, processes, services, radical, incremental, etc.);
  • Every approach to innovation (open, closed, etc.).

What are the benefits?

ISO 56002 has a variety of advantages, including:

  • Making the company a reference in the market, by having an innovation-focused management system;
  • Better ability to deal with uncertainty;
  • Lower costs and less waste, increasing profitability;
  • Higher satisfaction among consumers, suppliers, investors and other parties associated with the business;
  • Facilitating employee attraction and retention, providing space for them to be creative and contribute their ideas;
  • Ensuring the company’s good reputation, making business with larger organizations feasible;
  • More ways to boost revenue and drive business growth;
  • More reliability in the market and an improved company image in its field of activity;
  • Better alignment with the market’s regulatory standards;
  • Increased capacity to capture partners, employees and funding.

The eight pillars of ISO 56002

Another quite notable point of ISO 56002 regards the principles on which the standard is based. They lead the business to sustainability and are capable of responding to the constant shifting in the market. In addition, these principles provide support for all of the activities that the company will perform. They are:

  • Realization of value
  • Future-focused leaders
  • Strategic direction
  • Culture
  • Exploiting insights
  • Managing uncertainty
  • Adaptability
  • Systems approach (or process management).

It’s important to stress that ISO 56002 takes the widest range of situations into consideration, from small companies with just a few employees to more lucrative multinational corporations, proposing guidelines to conduct innovation in every scenario.

What is the process for implementing ISO 56002?

When implementing ISO 56002, the company determines the direction it intends to move in and the efforts it is willing to make to achieve its objectives. So it is necessary to establish targets, objectives, strategies, performance indicators and the resources that will be used for innovation, not just financially, but also in terms of the human factor, knowledge, infrastructure and even the time that will be allocated to innovation projects.

The process of implementing ISO 56002 covers five main steps: assessment, innovation committee, implementation methodology, internal auditing and certification auditing.

The first step in implementing the standard consists of performing an assessment and diagnosis of the company, where its level is determined in relation to the standard’s pillars; in other words, it’s how many and which innovation processes has your company already implemented and applied. Next it’s time to appoint the company’s innovation committee. At this phase, the members are chosen who will be responsible for ensuring that the innovation system works.

Within implementation, this is the phase where the system’s strategic planning is developed, along with planning for execution time and the tools to be used. The standard contains a total of ten chapters, and companies need to show evidence for each chapter, implementing the innovative tools and methodologies that best suit their needs.

An internal audit should be done to identify any nonconformances or points for improvement. And when the system is completely ready, the certification audit is done by a certification company to assess all of the standard’s items and provide proof that the company is indeed complying with ISO 56002. If it is and the company passes certification, it will receive a compliance certificate.

Companies should perform re-certification audits every 12 months, once again analyzing all of the regulatory aspects to identify gaps, nonconformances and potential opportunities for improvement. If everything goes well, the company will renew its certificate.

Why should your company be certified in ISO 56002?

Although it isn’t mandatory, ISO 56002 certification holds significant weight and importance in the market, especially the international market. ISO is recognized worldwide as a reference in enterprise management systems. As a result, many companies see ISO certification as an important recognition, and many even require it for commercial contracts.

Yet beyond this, the ISO 56002 audit process has good chances of identifying possible points for the improvements the company needs to move forward on innovation projects, and it’s the simplest, most affordable and fastest way for companies to think about and prepare for the increasingly rapid changes that are happening in the market. So ISO 56002 certification provides companies with the ability to better prepare for future management, with management systems that are better suited to a speedy and profound global transformation.

 Now that you know that ISO 56002 is growing more popular in the corporate world, how about having a solution that provides the tools and methods to help your company with the challenges of innovation?

Find out about SoftExpert ICM, the most complete solution for innovation processes and changes at organizations of any size and in any segment of the market. Want to learn more? Click on the button below.

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    Daiane Loeffler


    Daiane Loeffler

    Daiane Loeffler is a Business Analyst at SoftExpert. She holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from UNISOCIESC, a specialization in Process Engineering from Sustentare Business School, and a specialization in Pharmaceutical Engineering from Instituto Racine. She is experienced in the Processes and Quality Systems areas and has expertise on Good Manufacturing Practices, Risk Management, Audits, Root Cause Analysis, CAPA, FMEA, PPAP, APQP and Six Sigma.

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