Designing and Managing Innovation Portfolios

Department For International Development

October 15
15:59 2019


This rapid literature review summarises the existing evidence on the design and management of innovation portfolios of organizations from the private sector, public sector and NGOs. This report provides a review of academic papers, policy briefs, and other reports on the topic. The design of innovation portfolios can be based on different models. Some of the most important approaches include Innovation Ambition Matrix, Innovation life cycle portfolio model, Impact-feasibility portfolio model and Options portfolio model. The design and management of innovation portfolios are presented in the second and third section respectively. It includes the discussion on the strategies, systems and challenges. UNICEFs innovation portfolio management is used as a case study in the fourth section. Some of the key recommendations include the need to clarify how its unique structures and resources are optimally placed along the innovation and scale up spectrum, the utilisation of portfolio management approach to make sure that its resources are well associated with its strategic priorities and comparative advantages and tolerable degrees of risk.

K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development.


Megersa, K. (2019). Designing and managing innovation portfolios. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Designing and Managing Innovation Portfolios

Published 16 September 2019