Which idea is the right idea?

 In Innovation

Many of our clients tell us that their product teams have no problem coming up with innovative ideas but selecting the right idea and taking it through the development cycle at the right time poses more of a challenge.  Without the right screening tool all ideas seem valid,  so the place to start is by developing the right screening tool for your business.  Ideally, new products will be viewed in a portfolio and measured, scored, researched, prioritized and assigned the proper resources in that context.  Unfortunately, most businesses don’t take the time to do this.  So somewhere between “gut-feel” and portfolio management there is room for an alternative approach.  At MIDIOR, we have identified five factors that will help identify the right product to rise to the top of the list:

  1. Business Model: Define the business case. What problem is being solved, and for who? What is the value in solving it? Who is the buying constituency? How will money be made, and what is the scale of the potential ROI?)
  2. Product and Proprietary Advantage: What is the product, service or solution and are the core technologies or platforms available?  What is the special sauce and does it afford a particular competitive advantage?
  3. Market and Opportunity: What is the market’s state in terms of maturity and competition? How big is the opportunity that can be served with the product or service? Can you clearly define the market at a granular level to profile the target customer? How attractive is the size and scale of the opportunity?
  4. Team and Objectives: Who’s on the team?  Is the “whole” of the core team greater than the sum of the individuals?  Is the extended team identified and sufficiently committed to provide advice, support, air cover and supplemental resources?  Are short and long-term objectives clearly defined and do they align with team’s competencies?
  5. Funding and Execution Plan: Are all of the tasks documented and mapped against a detailed schedule? Is this plan achievable and realistic based on the funding and resources available?

Once the new product concept is evaluated against all five categories, the team will generate quantitative ratings for:

  • Success: What is the likelihood of success of this team, with this plan, at this time?
  • Alignment: Does the plan align with company objectives? With the team’s capabilities? With available funding?
  • Risk/Reward: Are risk and reward matched? (low risk, low reward OR high risk, high reward)

When the team agrees on “How do we measure success for our business?” and then screens each opportunity against the same factors, the best ideas will rise to the top of the list.  For further guidance on screening ideas and managing products visit our tools and frameworks section for screening ideas and managing products, visit our website. Or just call us at 617-864-8813. We’re here to help.


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