Templum: ISO 56002

ISO 56002: What is the ISO of Innovation?
(Marília Cardoso)

Innovation is a latent demand these days. However, in a context of large and rapid transformations combined with exponential technologies, companies feel completely lost about how to keep the business attractive and profitable in such a volatile environment.

It was with this demand in mind that ISO 56002, for innovation management, was launched in 2020. In little more than a year, the norm has already been adopted by more than 150 companies around the world – four in Brazil alone. The largest of these is AirBus, one of the largest companies in the world, in the aeronautical sector, with more than 150 thousand employees.

Founded in 1947, with the intention of helping in the reconstruction of companies devastated by the Second World War, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, is a non-profit institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. Anchored on the principles of isonomy (which in Greek means equality), the organization has over 22 thousand technical standards, more than 180 management system standards that aim to establish worldwide standards for business management.

With 164 member countries, ISO has consolidated itself as one of the most important international references with regard to standardization and management models.

The ISO 56002 format

With all this credibility and know how, in 2013 ISO created an international study group, ISO TC-279, in order to map the best innovation practices of all member countries. Over the years, many countries have actively collaborated, as was the case of France, Canada, Portugal, Russia, Spain, England, and Brazil itself, which contributed to the standard ABNT/16.501/2011.

The family of innovation standards also has other supporting standards, such as ISO 56000 is the standard that determines vocabularies and fundamentals. ISO 56002 is the standard that provides guidelines for implementing the management system and is the only one that can be certified via a conformity certificate.

There is also ISO 56003, which helps companies through tools and methods for innovation; ISO 56004, in charge of assessment; ISO 56005, of tools and methods for intellectual property management; 56006, of tools and methods for the management of strategic intelligence; 56007, of idea management; 56008, of tools and methods for measuring management system performance; and 56009, which is a practical guide for innovation. Although not all are already published, the standards have been widely sought after by companies of various sizes and segments in the search for better innovation management.

The standard principles

The standard has been gaining increasing importance, especially in a context of pandemic and major global transformations. Innovation has become a watchword, and what ISO 56002 proposes is the structuring of processes to innovate with a focus on generating results. After all, if innovation is not well planned, the company runs the risk of failing to transform ideas into results.

Its main objective is to create a culture and processes to generate innovation in companies of all sizes and segments through the implementation of the norm. Based on eight pillars – strategic direction, process approach, value realization, future-focused leadership, collaborative culture, adaptability and resilience, uncertainty management, and insights management – ISO 56002 states that an innovation can be a product, service, process, model, method, or a combination of any of these. However, the concept of innovation is characterized by novelty and value. In short, this means that ideas without the manifestation of value are not innovations but inventions.

The terminology of the main standard with the number two is an indication that it is a standard of guidelines and not of requirements. In other words, it points paths, but understands that there is no single recipe for all companies. “Innovation is a very broad, vast, and complex field of study. ISO understood that what works in one company may not work in another. Therefore, in addition to deeply understanding all these standards, the professionals involved in the implementation process must have a deep knowledge of innovation methodologies and tools to achieve really effective results,” argues Alexandre Pierro, founding partner of PALAS, TEMPLUM’s partners in this journey.

Certification Process

The certification process, via a conformity certificate, is simple. ISO 56002 can be implemented in companies of all sizes and segments. It is possible to implement it in a single department or in the company as a whole. There are also cases of implementation in several units at the same time, even in different countries, in the case of multinationals.

The first step is to perform an assessment, which evaluates the level of adherence of a company in relation to the pillars of the standard. After that, the implementation process begins, which takes from four to eight months, depending on the level of complexity and maturity of the company in relation to the theme.

The implementation process is quite simple, but it requires technical knowledge both about innovation and ISO standards. Therefore, having the support of an experienced consulting company is fundamental. After implementing all the normative items, the company goes through a certification audit, done by a certifying body. If approved, it receives a certificate of conformity.

Once this is done, it will be time to put all the processes in full operation, in order to generate a large volume of ideas that can become an innovation, whether in products, processes, or even in business models. Keeping track of the indicators is essential to ensure the success of the innovation management system.

Every 12 months, the company must go through a recertification audit, where all normative aspects will be analyzed again in order to map gaps, non-conformities, and possible opportunities for improvement. If everything is correct, the company will have its certificate renewed.

ISO 56002 in Brazil

In total, four Brazilian companies have already adopted ISO 56002. The first was MZF4, a nylon transformation industry located in the capital city of São Paulo. At the same time, CSI Locações, an equipment leasing company based in Fortaleza, Ceará, also obtained the certificate of compliance with this standard.

The third company was PALAS, which decided to try out this management model in its own processes. “Even though we are specialists in innovation and have participated in the formatting of the norm, we noticed many gains when we carried out our own implementation, such as, for example, the definition of goals and the better management of business risks,” highlights Pierro.

The most recent company to be ISO 56002 certified was Atento, one of Brazil’s largest employers, a multinational in the contact center business. “Today, we can say that innovation is part of our culture and is among the company’s main investment priorities, with the aim of improving our offer and bringing the best results for our customers,” says Maurício Castro, the company’s director.

Very soon, other companies will receive the certificate of compliance with this standard. This time, in the technology industry. And it seems, in 2021, there will be many more, since there are many companies interested in the implementation.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of ISO 56002 to a company are enormous, as which we can mention:

• increased ability to manage uncertainty
• increased growth, revenue, profitability, and competitiveness
• reduced costs and waste, and increased productivity and resource efficiency
• increased sustainability and resilience
• improved satisfaction of users, customers, citizens, and other stakeholders
• sustained renewal of the portfolio of offerings
• engaged and empowered people in the organization
• increased ability to attract partners, collaborators and funding
• enhanced reputation and valuation of the organization
• facilitated compliance with regulations and other relevant requirements

Moreover, the biggest advantage of the process of implementing this standard, besides becoming a reference in innovation, is turning ideas into results. Unfortunately, it is very common for many companies to generate great ideas, but due to a lack of processes, they never get off the ground.

Published in Templum website on July 16th, 2021: