Technology, innovation and management
Technology, innovation and management

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Technology, innovation and management

6.5 Managing dynamics of change

For most organisations the days of just trying to optimise the production or delivery of a single product or service are long gone. Most organisations – whether commercial, public sector or not-for profit – are continually faced with trying to modify – and hence improve – their products or services: special versions are needed, a retailer wants an own-brand version, a national government introduces new health and safety regulations, or a market opportunity requires a simplified de-rated version. In short, the operations side of a business is forced to manage the dynamics of change on an almost continuous basis. Of course, managing change is not just restricted to managing technological change. As we made clear at the outset of this course, technological and organisational change go hand in hand.

Sometimes technological change leads to organisational change: the introduction of new ICTs has led many organisations to change their structure and operation/organisation. In turn, a new work organisation may demand new technical systems and technologies. An example from the service sector featuring an organisation that many people will be familiar with serves as a brief illustration. McDonald’s created an innovative mass production food preparation and distribution system which it combined with flexible on-demand delivery at local franchise outlets. This network now stretches around the world. The visible, innovative food products are therefore part of a much more innovative food preparation, delivery and distribution system.

The point we are making is that there can be a wide variety of changes that underlie new products or services, along with a wider range of operations for their production, and that it all has to be managed dynamically in an integrated fashion. Much of technological innovation management is actually about managing change. At its simplest, there are a wide range of IM activities, from just making things a bit better, tidying things up, good housekeeping if you like, to the revolutionary breakthroughs that put a person on the moon. Because the possible combinations of resources, people, time, money, products, processes, services and systems can be extremely large – as the lists in Section 6.3 illustrate so clearly – there are many ways of managing technological innovation. As a result, there are lots of opportunities for getting things right and lots more for making mistakes as we try to understand what it is that we are trying to manage. Often there is no single right answer, but there are wrong ones, and lots of better ones worth striving for.

The spectrum of TMI/IM activities ranges from the operational to the strategic. Each activity complements all the others; there is frequently no sharp dividing line between where one ends and another begins, and often two will interact, rather than one taking precedence over the other. This is illustrated by the very straightforward diagram of the innovation process (Figure 7), which can also be seen as a simple representation of innovation management.

Figure 7 Simplified model of the innovation process (Tidd and Bessant, 2009)

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371