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 ‘Management of Intellectual Property Rights’, students are given first insights into processes, thought structures and methods pertaining to these subjects. Additionally, ‘Mathematics’ and ‘Marketing’, which also form part of the basic Bachelor program, are read at the Chair of Project Management and Innovation.
In the Master’s program, ‘Technology Management’ deals with several aspects of sourcing, generating, protecting and evaluating technologies in a company. Its primary goal is to secure a company’s technological competitiveness and at the same time to support a high-performing innovation management. Doing so, ‘Technology Management’ is a useful foundation in the specialized studies of ‘System Development and Innovation’, but only compulsory for ‘Technology Intelligence’.
In the specialized studies in ‘System Development and Innovation’ focus on six thematic areas that are explored in separate courses. ‘Advanced Project Management’, ‘Technology Intelligence’, ‘Methods of Future Research’, ‘Methodical Inventing’, ‘Patent Management’ as well as ‘Technology Roadmapping’ 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.
Lectures courses in bachelor studies:
The lecture course “Mathematics” deals with fundamental topics of Analysis and Linear Algebra. Methods of calculation for the respective fields with practical examples will support the understanding of various connections in the field of business and economics. The aim of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the mathematical basis of business administration. This will enable them to present complex economic and social contexts with the help of mathematical models.
Students have a basic knowledge of marketing principles and are able to apply it. They gain knowledge about conceptual basics, frameworks, strategic decisions, marketing instruments and coordination. This methodical knowledge provides students with the ability to analyze and solve decision problems in the context of marketing.
Management of Intellectual Property Rights
The course is intended to provide an insight into the various facets of the management of industrial property rights. After completing the course, students should be able to explain and assess the basic characteristics of the different types of industrial property rights, independently carry out essential steps in the search and analysis of these rights, explain and evaluate the necessity and functions of industrial property rights, especially in connection with corporate values, and explain and assess strategies and methods as well as the operational tasks of managing industrial property rights.
‘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.
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.
Lectures in master studies:
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.
A major task in system development and innovation management is providing orientation in terms of the status quo and the future perspectives of technologies. This may be achieved with the aid of different approaches relying on information extracted from patents, publications, blogs or similar data sources – especially, when outside technologies are concerned. These data sources can be tapped into by means of various methods, which essentially combine bibliometric analyses and text mining. The aim of the course is testing selected instruments and practical experience in dealing with these.
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. Therefore, the management of these assets is the subject of the lecture ‘patent management’, and thus it is shown how a three-stage patent management process can be used to increase the success of a company in a targeted manner, from the search and analysis of patents to the strategy with patents.
Technology Roadmapping offers tools to formulate future strategies, strengthen their technological position in the course of time, identify chances and use resources in a target oriented manner. Powerful instruments like the scenario technique, software-based or TRIZ-based technology roadmapping are explained and tested in small groups.