Now, more than ever, innovation strategy is implemented through projects. This special issue addresses the rich and growing stream of research that investigates organizational capabilities for the strategic management of innovation through multiple projects.
The importance of innovation project management is escalating in an increasingly competitive, globalized, and dynamic environment, in which innovation is the primary driver of firm survival and growth. In parallel, a shift to ‘management by projects’ has been driven by competitive pressures in combination with the increased complexity of organizational activities and the increasing availability and success of project management tools.
Much of the research related to innovation project management concentrates on the efficient delivery of innovation projects and the processes of innovation from a single project perspective. However, organizations manage a complex landscape of innovation projects that compete for scarce resources. The strategic management of innovation requires that organizations effectively generate ideas and select, develop, and exploit a continuous stream of projects and consider the multiple interdependencies between projects (such as resource requirements and knowledge flows) all the while ensuring that the intent of the innovation strategy is effectively delivered.
This fragmentation of the innovation strategy through multiple projects creates challenges for innovation management. These challenges are currently thought to be best met by portfolio-level approaches that provide a strategic and holistic perspective for the management of multiple innovation projects. In addition, the formulation and evolution of organizational strategy requires a holistic understanding of the innovation environment – an understanding that is informed by portfolio-level project oversight. The organizational approaches that are being implemented to provide this high-level perspective exhibit common themes across multiple industries. The term ‘project portfolio management’ (PPM) has become an umbrella term for these capabilities. The term PPM is used here to include the organizational processes and routines, organizational structures, the culture, human capabilities, and the management environment that all contribute to an organization's capability for strategic oversight and portfolio-level decision making. However, a number of other terms are also in use such as innovation process, new product program, innovation program, or idea management system. All submissions that fit the theme are encouraged.
Research in this theme is spread across multiple disciplines such as marketing, project management, new product and service development, strategic management, human resource management, engineering and innovation management. This special issue will consolidate this important stream of research and we encourage submissions from diverse disciplines to further our collective understanding. We invite conceptual and empirical papers that explore the role of project portfolio-level management processes in implementing and informing innovation strategy. Possible questions (the list is not exhaustive) are:
- How is project portfolio management done in order to secure innovation goals? What differentiates innovation leaders?
- How are innovation strategies developed in relation to the portfolio of innovation projects? Is the strategic direction informed by the project portfolio?
- What are the implications of the concurrent management of many projects for the human side of innovation management?
- How can portfolio-level approaches address resource development and resource flexibility to best implement innovation strategy?
- What is the role of PPM in collaborative arrangements for delivering innovation strategy?
- How are organizational structures designed to facilitate the management of multiple projects to meet innovation goals? Which actors are important and what are their roles?
- How are temporary innovation projects and programs influenced by the properties of the permanent organizations?