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Innovation Project Manager

United Kingdom

Innovation Project Manager

  • NE02179
  • United Kingdom




This role can be based in either Liverpool or Bristol 

The role

A new role within the Process and Governance pillar of Imperial’s central Innovation function. Reporting to the Senior Innovation Project Manager, this role will have global remit and will support the end to end project management for innovation projects within the pipeline. Working closely with the Category Project Leads, Innovation Project Managers will manage multiple innovation projects concurrently, enabling and ensuring Project Management Practice is applied consistently throughout the Ideation to Launch Process, to ensure the successful delivery of strategically important Product Innovation Initiatives. 

The Imperial Brands business is going through a major transformation, with a new CEO setting an ambitious and exciting vision for the future.  One major change is the creation of a new Chief Consumer Office (CCO) – a central function which covers Innovation, Insight, Marketing and Portfolio Management and Imperial’s next-generation propositions (NGP).

The Innovation function forms a critical part of this CCO structure. The department will be organised around key innovation capabilities, with one Innovation team delivering across all categories (Combustibles, EVP, HTP and OND). The role of Innovation will be to enable Imperial to deliver consumer-centric, commercially viable innovations that are aligned with the business strategy. Innovation will achieve this through:

  • Delivering R&D activities: End-to-end technical design and delivery of innovation products and packs, leveraging both in-house capabilities and external parties to facilitate the launch of category-led, consumer-centric innovations into market.
  • Developing partnerships: The Innovation function will collaborate closely with Procurement to build strong relationships with partners and third parties to underpin a lean and agile delivery model that enables speed to market.
  • Facilitating development of the innovation funnel: Guide Imperial to make the right business decisions about innovation projects through identifying future technical solutions and supporting cross-category generation, qualification and prioritisation of solution opportunity areas based on consumer, competitor and market insights.
  • Stewardship of the innovation pipeline and process: The Innovation function oversees Imperial’s innovation process, from Ideation to Launch. The Process and Governance pillar of the Innovation function owns this enterprise-wide process and drives continuous improvement to ensure more efficient and effective delivery of innovation. The team will also manage the portfolio of projects through the stage gates, ensure adherence to the relevant branches of the process and run the governance forums to ensure timely, insight-led decision making and OTIF delivery.


Key accountabilities

  • Lead the end-to-end project delivery of innovation initiatives, working closely with Category Project Leads
  • Create and maintain the end-to-end project / programme plan, including highlighting the critical path and ensuring any variances that impact upon it are communicated to the Project Lead
  • Create and maintain of all project / programme level documentation (budget, risk & issues, resource, change, action etc.), including highlighting any material variances from plan to Project Lead
  • Ensure all required input is gathered and collated from project/programme team to enable creation of project reports
  • Coordinate, facilitate and document (if required) E2E project planning workshop
  • Coordinate, facilitate and document (if required) stage gate project team meetings to gather required input for stage gate forum
  • Coordinate, facilitate and document (if required) weekly stand up meetings with delivery leads
  • Coordinate, facilitate and document ad hoc project meetings as required (risk management, lessons learnt etc.)
  • Liaise closely with Project Lead(s) to ensure all project planning and reporting is understood and accurate, and any risks and/or issues are highlighted
  • Actively identify, mitigate, and escalate (as appropriate) any key risks associated with Innovation pipeline projects
  • Identify recommendations resulting from analysis and reporting of the of the innovation portfolio vs. business objectives
  • Work closely with Category Project Leads to ensure project lessons learnt are captured and fed into the appropriate feedback loop following project closure


  • Sufficiency of innovation portfolio vs. business objectives
  • Adherence to the relevant branches of innovation and risk processes
  • Adherence to the relevant innovation pipeline project plan
  • Meeting success criteria captured in project business cases

Critical Decisions

  • Input into product launch plan, volumes and targets
  • Input into determining whether NGP innovation prototypes are fit for purpose
  • Input into Product concepts, charters and business cases

Key Capabilities

  • Project management (Level 4)
  • Process Governance (Level 3)
  • Insights Application (Level 1)
  • Technical requirements gathering/ business analysis (Level 1)
  • Consumer-centric solution design (Level 1)

Skills & experience



  • Educated to degree level in relevant field
  • Professional Project Management Qualification (e.g. Prince 2, PMP)


  • Project & Programme Management
  • Collaboration
  • Stakeholder management
  • Product development
  • Commercial awareness
  • Strategic planning
  • Budget management


  • Project managing innovation or product development projects in an FMCG environment
  • Working with project management tools
  • Effectively planning, managing and reporting on complex innovation projects
  • Building strong collaborative and influential relationships with a range of stakeholders
  • Monitoring and managing a portfolio of innovation projects
  • Effectively managing and escalating risks in innovation projects




  • Process management


  • Project managing innovation or product development projects in a tobacco environment
  • Project managing innovation or product development projects in a pharmaceutical environment

What we offer

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