Although we understand that creativity is very important for the innovation process and a moment of inspiration cannot be planned, other things only work when they have been planned.
Science is the best support for innovation; new research results can provide new options to feed the creativity of the people. Serious research must be planned because of the scientific method. Scientists propose a hypothesis and establish a set of experiments to validate it. This process is a planned one.
Technological development is a planned work too. It relies on engineering methodologies. We cannot develop a complex new product without project management techniques. Multidisciplinary groups need coordination and this requires planning.
If we use innovation as a strategic process to drive the positioning of our company, we will need that this activity is planned and incorporated into the strategic plan of our company.
Of course, we can plan activities, but we cannot guarantee results. This is not very different of other corporate activities. The difference is that the risk is diverse. When we plan commercial activities there is economic risk. For instance, markets can prefer other products. But the risk of the innovation activity is not only related to the markets when the product has been developed. There is a technical risk, and it is greater when research is a part of the process. The only way to reduce this uncertainty is to assure that all tasks are well planned and they are properly executed.
Many stories of innovation proceed from an entrepreneur innovating in a garage, but when we are managing innovation in a large corporate, we will need that innovation process will be planned because the value that a corporate need that innovation provides will be higher and the resources that we will use too.