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TIM-PD-004-R5 Reference Document on Small Organizations

This is a companion reference document to the TIM Innovation Management Maturity Model, in particular the Standard (TIM-PD-001-STD), the Interpretation Guideline (TIM-PD-003-GL), the Basic Implementation Guidline (TIM-PD-003-GL1), and supporting documentation. This document provides additional information on how to use, interpret, and implement Innovation Capability for small organizations, for its users, registrars, accredited trainers and assessors.

Early users of the Innovation Management Maturity Model repeatedly posed the question, whether the innovation management standard is applicable to small organizations as much as to large ones. We answered that question in the affirmative. The requirements of a Maturity Model are universal, their application is not. The next question was: then is the model and its toolset not too extensive, too elaborate to use for building Innovation Capability in a small organization? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. The editorial team decided against the creation of a ‘special version’ for small organizations. For a simple reason: universal principles which apply to large organizations, will govern small organizations equally. They way these principles are applied may differ. In the Maturity Model it is stated repeatedly, that the principles are considered universal (all organizations of all sizes and identities). Therefore, creating a small organization ‘version’ would be neither consistent with that emphatic statement, nor would it be logical. The crucial fact is: whether organizations are large or small, the issues these organizations are faced with are the same: they are just as complex to solve, and can require as much effort. The only significant difference is, that smaller organizations (unless they are well-funded startups backed up by a cash-rich mother company) lack scale and an accompanying pool of resources with which to deal with these matters, in terms of finance, people, information, and infrastructure. It gives them less investment punching power, fewer professional employees or partners to work with, and less access to expert knowledge, a smaller supply chain and distribution channel, and the like. On the other hand, smaller organizations can be more flexible, nimbler, quicker to respond to demand and resolve,  more focused, passionate, open-minded, externally oriented, resilient, and determined to succeed. In short: small organizations profit and suffer from being small, large organizations profit and suffer from being large. Moreover, skipping steps in a process for being small introduces risk, which can be contained and mitigated.

The solution was to create a special reference document, entirely devoted to the use of the Maturity Model for small organization purposes as they do have specific circumstances and issues to deal with. Where required, this document provides additional information for small organizations in terms of prioritization of measures, improvisation on how to deal with resourcing, etc. with which to compensate for lack of scale and resources, and so curb and mitigate added risk incurred.

As such, it serves as a counterpoint to the Reference Document on Venture Programs which is also part of the Maturity Model’s reference set of materials, and which provides guidance to large organizations on how to run smaller entities and projects for innovation purposes alongside the major operating businesses.