Creating a portfolio of effective innovation capabilities has become a critical competence to compete, and is vital in innovation management. The need for this research originated from the background that innovation capabilities are seen as abstract concepts in practice and that the possibility of a portfolio of innovation capabilities exists in organisations as ubiquitous elements of the innovation process. A deeper understanding of innovation capabilities present, in the South African context of innovation, and the challenge to populate a portfolio of innovation capabilities for successful innovation is paramount. The globalised environment of business, affects the need for innovation at an exponential rate and current core organisational capabilities, culture, environment and processes, may not be conducive to innovation capability building, successful innovation, and even organisational survival. By creating environments that support innovation and by being aware of the symbiosis of capabilities within a portfolio of innovation capabilities, executives and innovation team leaders can manage innovation methods and processes to remain more competitive.
The research investigated the executives and innovation leaders views, knowledge and experiences of innovation capabilities and the portfolio of innovation capabilities. The literature review examines the culture of innovation, measures of innovation, capabilities and innovation practices as a means to identify actual innovation capabilities in use. The information attained, was used during the semi-structured interviews with the aim to provide structure and commonality to the practitioners terms and practical experience of innovation. Interviews were conducted with 15 interviewees who consisted of executives and innovation experts who dealt directly with innovation drives within their organisations. The outcome allowed for the identification of innovation capabilities in practice and the articulation of a portfolio of innovation capabilities found in South African organisations.
The executives and innovation leaders were forthcoming in sharing their organisations innovation process successes and shortcomings, and communicated their experiences and concerns, pertaining to innovation capabilities within their companies. A model of the ideal portfolio of innovation capabilities (Figure 17) emerged from the findings of the research results. It presents a conceptualised framework of the ten innovation capabilities that were identified and labelled during the data analysis process. The model further depicts the base incubation of innovation culture for the major innovation capabilities presented. The outcome of this research could contribute to executives and innovation leaders facilitation of successful innovation in organisations through the building of portfolios of innovation capabilities, relevant to their industries.