There is hardly anything that has a greater impact on peoples’ lives and the economic strength of enterprises than the progress of innovations in terms of new products, services and business models. Consequently, business executives cannot afford to leave innovation to chance – even though chance may play an important role in some cases. Instead, the management of innovations and the technologies on which they are based has to be shaped deliberately, in private enterprises as well as in public institutions. Hence, this management discipline is the central subject of the academic chair’s curriculum. The basic knowledge is imparted in our Bachelor program and deepened during the Master program in Industrial Engineering (see graphic below).
In the Bachelor courses on ‘The Foundations of Project Management’, ‘Innovation Management’ and ‘Start-up Management’ students are given first insights into processes, thought structures and methods pertaining to these subjects. ‘Mathematics for Business Students’ and ‘Marketing’, which also form part of the basic Bachelor program, are read at the Chair of Innovation and Competence Transfer.
‘Technology Management’ is a compulsory subject within the Master program’s Business Studies module which provides the basis for further specialization.
Specialized studies in ‘System Development and Innovation’ focus on four thematic areas that are explored in separate courses. ‘Advanced Project Management’, ‘Methods of Future Studies’, ‘Methodical Inventing’ and ‘Patent Management’ serve to transmit in-depth knowledge and methodology. The internalization and the practical application of acquired theoretical contents are enabled in complementary study projects.
Apart from the customary lectures, the institute’s didactical mix encompasses case studies, theme-specific workshops, excursions and talks given by guest lecturers.
‘Innovation Management’ is concerned with the question of how innovations can be steered operationally. This concerns the process design of innovations as well as their competitive effects, instruments for evaluating and selecting innovations, some areas of knowledge management, and corporate interface management.
The ‘Start-up Management’ course is a step-by-step introduction to the components and the procedure required for the preparation of a business plan. Based on this, essential aspects of founding and managing a business can be explored and discussed.
Nowadays most upcoming tasks in companies are handled as projects. However, the proportion of failed projects tends to be fairly high. In most cases the failure is not due to unfavorable technical conditions, but to the fact that the project management was inadequate. Therefore, it is of great importance for students to become familiar with the basics of an efficient project management. Our course in ‘Project Management’ addresses the roles of all organizational units as well as the organizational and operational provisions for project execution.
Technology management supports the establishment of a company’s technological platform and thus encompasses the development and cultivation of the corresponding competences. Our course in ‘Technology Management’ focuses on the protection of technologies (theoretical background, Repertory Grid, Balanced Innovation Card), the evaluation of technologies (technology and patent portfolios, competition comparison), and technology development.
Advanced Project Management
Successful project management relies on functional, methodical and social skills. The course in ‘Advanced Project Management’ is aimed at conveying in-depth knowledge regarding all three competence areas. Due to the multiplicity and diversity of project management activities, it is necessary to pick out particularly relevant features to meet the requirement of thematic consolidation. Hence, the course focuses on the following topics: technology road-mapping, stochastic project management, project management in the software industry, and co-operation in project teams.
Methods of Future Research
All business planning, but especially the part of decision-making in technology and innovation management depends ona sound analysis of framework conditions. Consequently, the methodology of future research is an essential complement to the disciplines mentioned above, as it helps generate concrete forecasts by which uncertainties regarding future developments are highlighted. This course introduces instruments of future and trend research, such as the Delphi Method, scenario technique and technology road-mapping.
Methodical inventing refers to the systematic, target-oriented and innovative solving of technical or technical-economic problems. It thus supports the creation of innovations, i.e. new products, processes or services. The respective course puts an emphasis on the concept of methodical inventing and its instruments (TRIZ), underlying ideas and specialized software tools, to point out a “different” approach to problem-solving.
Patents are a proven and well-established means for the protection of inventions. Hence, they play an increasingly important role in industry. Due to its tangible effect on business success, the qualified handling of patents has developed into an operational core task.