Innovation Management - Predicting Winners
Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.
Predicting winners is the result of the application of multiple approaches. An objective and holistic analysis of all of them together increases the likelihood of finding the Holy Grail 'a commercially successful product that reaps rich rewards.
Some of the approaches to finding winners include:
a) Franklin (2003) argues that the type of idea matters. Ideas that result from random event (but with the creator having previous existing knowledge) and solution spotting have the highest success rates and lowest failure rates.
b) The most successful innovations tend to be moderately new to the market, based on tried and tested technology, save money, meet customers' needs and support existing practices. This fits well with the concept to the S-curve, where impediments to product success can be measured.
c) Focusing on losers as opposed to winners. There are many, many more failures than there are successes, consequently, focused processes that weed out losers can save much time and investment.
d) Many product failures result from a lack of focus. With no clearly defined solution in mind, the chances of failure increase drastically. Ultimately success is measured by user take-up, which can easily be measured using models such as the user utility layer and the buyer experience cycle.
Kal Bishop, MBA
About the Author: Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com.