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How the new ISO Innovation Management Standards can unlock creativity in your organisation, not constrain.

Posted 3 years ago

Will applying the ISO Innovation Management Standards kill off creativity, and make your innovation program stale and dull? Quite the opposite. A consistent framework to manage new ideas creates a fertile and productive environment for creativity to thrive, while also providing a process to evolve and progress new ideas through to practical outcomes.


A widespread misconception in the innovation management community is that standardisation is about oppressive uniformity, while innovation is about creativity and change. It can be hard to understand how standards and structure can be used to unlock creativity, rather than constrain it.

However, without an effective system for realising value from creativity in an organisation, it is likely that an innovation program will fail.  Fast Company supports this concept, claiming creativity is NOT innovation, but rather a precursor.

There is a difference between creativity and innovation. Creativity is the process of generating something new. It is a prerequisite for innovation. Innovation, however, is the practical application of creativity. A good idea is a great thing, but if the idea is not implemented, for whatever reason, we simply have creativity. 

Creativity alone does not make a successful, innovative company. What does? Clever new products. Efficient new processes. Intuitive UX design. And all these things require a process and a structure to convert them from a creative concept to a workable, useful outcome.

Creative ideas need to emerge into an innovation system designed to notice them, nurture them, and take them forward.

But building an innovation system is complex work. It takes a sophisticated system to cut through an organisation’s cultural barriers, navigate decision-making processes and find the required (financial and human) resources to implement creative new ideas. Not only must the system perform well, it must also align to an organisations overall strategy, and support existing systems and processes. That’s where the Standards help.

The ISO Innovation Management Standards have been developed to provide a set of consistent approaches and methods to manage innovation and its implementation, aligned with international best practice.  The standards provide guidance to help organisations establish an Innovation System that works – because they are based on some of the world’s best working innovation systems.

Rather than constrain creativity, the ISO Innovation Mangement Standards provide a framework for progressing new ideas in an organisation. For creativity to generate a return on investment, it is necessary to limit endless explorations, and focus efforts, resources and budget towards generating real outcomes that create value for the organisation. 

The ISO Innovation Management Standards help make innovation easier and more profitable. The ISO Innovation Management Standards Committee (ISO/TC 279) states that the standards will also allow organisations to share their best practices, facilitating collaboration and also developing the capability to innovate and to bring innovations successfully to market. They are designed to support innovation in organisations regardless of their origin, industry, type or size. 

Click here to read about how the new Innovation Management standards can benefit your organisation.


To provide support aligning your innovation system to the Global ISO Innovation Management Standards, providing confidence that your innovation system is optimised to maximise productivity, reduce risk, and eliminate wasted resources, we have developed the Innovation Navigator™ tool.

To find out more, click here.