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Martin McGurk 

ISO50500 Innovation Management Systems

Martin McGurk


What is ISO 50500?

The standard covers innovation management systems, it is essentially a guide to good practices to encourage innovation systematically so that organisations can innovate repeatably and effectively.

How can a standard help you innovate? Well here’s a few reasons to be going on with:

Market Benefits

  • Provide guidance on how an organisation can solve problems and fulfill unmet customer needs
  • Increase business opportunities and open up new markets
  • Lead to the consequent reduction in trade barriers
  • Reduce time to market and enhance the competitiveness of the organisation
  • Answer to the need of both developed and emerging countries

Cultural Benefits

  • Develop open‐mindedness to accept new business models and methods
  • Promote the growth of an innovation culture with a global objective
  • Facilitate the implementation of both internal and external partnerships
  • Improve collaboration and communication on a global scale
  • Implement social responsibility in the organisation's innovation process

Organisational Benefits

  • Save cost and reduce risk when innovating and collaborating across borders, via the development of standard tools
  • Increase the organisation ability to take decisions: test and try, fail fast, capability to take reasonable risks, facing challenges and global change…
  • Improve the efficiency and the performance of the organisations to produce innovation
  • Improve results of innovation processes and allows one to better monitor the return of investments made in innovation activities
  • Share a globally accepted ‘common language’ for innovation management
  • Evaluate the progress of the organisation and identify and share good practice in innovation management

Acronym buster: TC279

Created in 2013, ISO/TC 279 is a technical committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The scope of ISO TC 279 is "Standardization of terminology tools and methods and interactions between relevant parties to enable innovation". Standards published will be ISO 5050x series.

During the drafting phase there isn’t necessarily a huge amount of detail publically available, check out the wiki page and the more formal ISO committee summary, detailing the 35 countries actively participating in the drafting processand how you can get involved.

However in Europe we are in the fortunate position of having a CEN specification (link is to a youtube video filmed during its launch in Ireland) to refer to in the meantime. Its purpose is to develop, maintain and promote standards in the fields of innovation management.

The Technical Committee Process

The first plenary meeting of ISO TC 279 was held in Paris on 4th to 5th December 2013, followed by plenary meetings in Buenos Aires and Dublin, whilst the 4th Plenary was held in Beijing in September 2016, organized by SAC, hosted by the China Knowledge Management Standardization Committee.

The working groups (the link is to a YouTube video where each of the conveners explains what their groups do) that make up the Committee will meet firstly in Madrid in April 2017 with a further plenary in the autumn of 2017. Watch this space for further blogs on progress.


[RTC North Ltd]