Innovation management standard aimed at SME development

ISO 56002 ‘a powerful tool’ for productivity and competitiveness for Irish businesses
Pictured at the launch, is Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD, with (back L to R) Paul Killeen, NSAI, Una Fitzpatrick, Technology Ireland, Geraldine Larkin, NSAI, Dave Feenan, Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet, and Mark Jordan, Skillnet Ireland. (Image: Andres Poveda)

18 October 2019

A new standard from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has been combined with an innovation excellence programme with the aim of boosting productivity levels in the small to medium enterprise (SME) sector.

The new initiative is a cooperative effort between the NSAI and Skillnet Ireland and has seen the launch the ISO Innovation Management System Standard and an aligned Innovation Excellence Programme (IEP). The unique dual launch of the two will allow organisations to learn how to implement and manage innovation successfully by providing solutions that address real customer needs.

“The standard provides practical tools and methods, on how SMEs can effectively and consistently deliver new products and services to their customers on an ongoing basis,” Paul Killeen, NSAI




According to the launch statement, an organisation’s ability to innovate is widely recognised as a key factor for sustained profitable growth and economic viability.

“The innovation capabilities of an organisation include the ability to understand and respond to changing conditions, to pursue new opportunities, and to leverage the knowledge and creativity of people within the organisation, and in collaboration with external stakeholders and partners.”

A recent report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was cited at the laucnh, which identified problems with productivity levels in the Irish SME sector. It found the gap in the productivity between larger companies versus SMEs is growing and needs to be addressed.

“The new ISO series of guidance standards on Innovation Management, developed by innovation experts from across the world, provides international best practice on the systematic management of innovation activities in organisations of all types, including SMEs,” said Paul Killeen, senior standards officer, NSAI.

“The standard provides practical tools and methods, on how SMEs can effectively and consistently deliver new products and services to their customers on an ongoing basis.”

The Innovation Excellence Programme has been designed by Skillnet Ireland in partnership with NSAI, and is based on the foundation of best practice outlined in the new ISO 56000 family of standards.

The “ISO 56002:2019 Innovation Management System – Guidance,” provides guidance for the establishment, implementation, maintenance, and continual improvement of an innovation management system for use in all established organisations.

According to Mark Jordan, chief technologist, Skillnet Ireland, the introduction of the new ISO guidance standard will lay down some best practices for testing theories, measuring impact, and executing the ideas that bring true innovation to life.

“The Innovation Excellence Programme will deliver the necessary tools, skills, and working practices directly into Irish business — developing a process and platform for the generation of new ideas and strategies. This programme will allow companies to become more creative and impactful in their approach to solving business challenges.”

“At Skillnet Ireland, we see a future of intense change, and innovation will be at the core of everything we do. We are delighted to support this collaborative initiative, which will facilitate the connections that propel people and companies to find new ways to thrive in a fast-paced, ever-changing world,” Jordan.

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