In times of market globalization, aggravated competition and the shortening of product life cycles, many companies have turned to innovations as elixirs for their continued existence (Little, 1997). Companies cope with increased innovation requirements by increasing their specialization in a certain field. This makes new innovation ideas more probable; however, it also complicates the process from conception to realization. Traditional leadership systems with rigid hierarchical structures are increasingly replaced by more flexible, interdisciplinary work forms, with networks becoming the prevailing form of organization (Man, 2004). Innovation plans are usually carried out in projects, thus the management of innovation projects has become the center of attention. However, the failure of many innovation projects sheds doubt on the usefulness of project management (PM). Studies demand robust process controlling to replace the more delicate PM (Hauschildt 2003). This article examines to what extend PM may be used as a “universal management instrument” (Seibert, 1998, p. 25) in innovation networks. In addition, further concepts and instruments that should be added to PM in innovation networks will be introduced.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Stage-Gate-Process: Implementation planning procedure, which uses the networked bar chart to break down the project activity in individual, sequential phases (stages). After each phase, results are assessed in regard to performance, quality, cost, and time goals. These milestones (gates) are used to determine the project’s continuation (go/no go).
Project: An endeavour in which human (or machine), material and financial resources are organized in a novel way, to undertake a unique scope of work, of given specification, within constraints of cost and time, so as to deliver beneficial change defined by quantitative and qualitative objectives.
Network Analysis: Instrument for structure and time analysis. Based on graph theory, it considers logical and time related effects and dependencies and allows for a detailed and graphic depiction of activity structures.
Objective-Network-Partner Matrix: A method to ensure the network partners’ objective compatibility. Objectives are noted within a matrix according to the network partners’ preferences.
Innovation Network: Complex linkage of several co-operation partners who agree on and practice an intentional, lasting, interactive co-operation based on a division of labor for the innovation process.
Design Structure Matrix: Instrument for the optimal planning of iterations. Dependencies between work packages and projects are visualized by the use of matrices.
Probe-and-Learn-Process: Implementation planning procedure, which introduces earlier versions of the innovative product into test markets in several iterations.
Project Management: The application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities in order to meet stakeholders’ needs and expectations from a project.