Becoming Invincible

Becoming Invincible: Embracing Innovation Management over Conventional Approaches to Leave Competition in Your Wake

Embracing Innovation Management over Conventional Approaches to Leave Competition in Your Wake

In the ever-evolving landscape of business and technology, the pursuit of success requires not just adaptation but innovation. Traditional project and product management strategies have served organisations well, but they come with limitations that can hinder future growth and resilience. This essay delves into the paradigm shift from managing projects, products, or value streams to prioritising innovation management. It asserts that while conventional methods may ensure current stability, it is innovation that offers the promise of invincibility and sustained success in the long run. Through real-life examples and critical analysis, this essay will demonstrate how the conscious choice to manage innovation can reshape the trajectory of organisations and secure their future.

The Limitations of Conventional Management Approaches

Conventional management approaches have been the bedrock of business operations for decades. Project management aims to execute tasks efficiently, product management focuses on delivering value, and value stream management emphasises optimisation. While these approaches are effective in their own right, they can inadvertently trap organisations in their current state. They often prioritise short-term goals, leading to a myopic perspective that might hinder the ability to navigate unforeseen disruptions or seize untapped opportunities.

Illustrating the Innovation Imperative

Innovation management, in contrast, centres on fostering an environment of continuous improvement, exploration, and adaptability. By focusing on innovation, organisations not only stay ahead of the curve but also cultivate a culture that encourages experimentation and learning. Apple Inc demonstrates a quintessential example of this shift. The technology giant transformed itself from a company producing personal computers to a global leader in smartphones, wearables, and services. This transformation was not solely a result of astute product management but a commitment to innovation that redefined industries and created new ones.

The Evolution of Nokia: A Cautionary Tale

The cautionary tale of Nokia illustrates the perils of complacency and underestimating the significance of innovation. Once an indomitable force in the mobile phone industry, Nokia’s eventual downfall was precipitated by a failure to innovate. The company’s insistence on adhering to existing products and practices rather than exploring new avenues of growth led to its rapid decline. This stark contrast between Nokia’s inability to adapt and Apple’s audacious innovation strategy underscores the transformative power of managing innovation over static processes.

From Projects to Innovation: Toyota’s Journey

Even in industries traditionally associated with stability and routine, embracing innovation management has proven to be a game-changer. Toyota, renowned for its Lean manufacturing principles and meticulous project management, recognised the potential of innovation in shaping its future. The company expanded beyond manufacturing vehicles to developing hybrid and electric technologies, redefining mobility solutions for a sustainable world. This shift, driven by a commitment to innovation, enabled Toyota to pivot from being an automaker to an emblem of progressive transportation solutions.

Fostering an Innovative Organisational Culture

A fundamental facet of managing innovation is cultivating an organisational culture that values creativity, learning, and risk-taking. Google’s “20% time” policy is a prime example of fostering innovation at the individual level. By allowing employees to dedicate a fifth of their work hours to personal projects, Google has birthed revolutionary products like Gmail and Google Maps. This approach empowers employees to explore their ideas, fostering an atmosphere of innovation that continuously propels the company forward.


Innovation is the lifeblood of progress and transformation. The transition from managing projects, products, or value streams to embracing innovation management signifies a pivotal shift in how organisations approach the future. While conventional management approaches may ensure stability in the present, they lack the dynamism required to navigate the unpredictable tides of change. The allure of invincibility lies not in stagnation but in the bold pursuit of innovation. As exemplified by the success stories of Apple, Toyota, and Google, managing innovation equips organisations with the capacity to redefine industries, embrace disruption, and lead with resilience. To thrive in an ever-evolving landscape, the choice is clear: manage innovation to secure a future brimming with untapped potential and sustained success.