Although both innovation consultants and management consultants strive to improve organizational performance, consultancy agency company leaders concentrate on different aspects of business and employ distinct methodologies. Knowing the nuancs can help companies choose the right type of consulting support for their specific needs.


  1. Focus:
  • Innovation Consultants: Concentrate on creating new products, services, processes, or business models. Experts emphasize creativity, disruptive thinking, and future-oriented solutions.
  • Management Consultants: Address a broader range of business issues, including operational efficiency, organizational structure, and overall business strategy.
  1. Approach:
  • Innovation Consultants: Employ design thinking, rapid prototyping, and experimentation. Keynote speakersoften use creative workshops and ideation sessions.
  • Management Consultants: Rely on data analysis, industry benchmarks, and established business frameworks. Pros typically conduct thorough assessments of current operations.
  1. Timeframe:
  • Innovation Consultants: Can work on both short-term innovations and long-term transformative changes.
  • Management Consultants: Often focus on immediate to mid-term improvements, though they can also address long-term strategic planning.
  1. Risk Tolerance:
  • Innovation Consultants: Generally more comfortable with uncertainty and calculated risks, pushing for breakthrough ideas.
  • Management Consultants: Tend to be more risk-averse, focusing on proven methods and incremental improvements.
  1. Deliverables:
  • Innovation Consultants: Produce new product concepts, improved processes, innovative business models, or cultural transformation plans.
  • Management Consultants: Deliver efficiency improvements, cost reduction strategies, organizational restructuring plans, or market entry strategies.
  1. Client Interaction:
  • Innovation Consultants: Often engage with a broad range of employees across different levels and departments to foster creativity and buy-in.
  • Management Consultants: Typically work more closely with top executives and management teams.
  1. Skill Sets:
  • Innovation Consultants: Value creativity, design skills, and the ability to think outside conventional boundaries.
  • Management Consultants: Emphasize analytical skills, industry knowledge, and strategic thinking.


  1. Both aim to improve organizational performance and competitiveness.
  2. Both require a deep understanding of the client’s business and industry.
  3. Both often involve some level of change management.
  4. Both can lead to significant organizational transformations.

When to Choose Each:

Innovation Consultants are often preferred when:

  • Developing new products or services
  • Fostering a culture of innovation
  • Addressing disruptive market changes
  • Reimagining customer experiences

Management Consultants are typically chosen for:

  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Restructuring the organization
  • Developing overall business strategy
  • Addressing financial performance issues

In practice, the distinction between innovation and management consulting can sometimes blur. Many consulting firms now offer both services, recognizing that modern businesses often need a combination of innovative thinking and solid management practices.

Some organizations engage both types of consultants, using management consultants to optimize current operations and innovation consultants to drive future growth. Increasingly, there’s a trend towards integrating these approaches, as companies realize that sustainable success requires both efficient management and innovative thinking.

Determining whether to hire innovation or management consultants depends on an organization’s specific challenges, goals, and the type of change they wish to drive. Both can provide valuable insights and support in helping companies navigate complex business landscapes and achieve their objectives.