In a Sales process, a new customer develops through the different stages of a Sales pipeline. It generally moves from the so-called suspect stage into a more promising prospect stage and it finally becomes your new customer. It’s a controlled process with predictive value. The same pipeline principle can be applied to creativity and innovation.
Let’s have a look at the development from an idea into a product. The Innovation Pipeline gets filled with all creative ideas that the organization generates. Some of these ideas turn out to have less potential than others. The most promising ideas are selected and move on to a new stage where they are developed into concepts. Some of the concepts may not meet commercial, financial or other important requirements. These concepts don’t move on and they are shelved. Finally, the concepts that are likely to create the most value for the organization are being introduced in the market.
Introducing an Innovation Pipeline is of great benefit to an organization to control, predict and measure the innovation process.
Having an Innovation Pipeline in place allows an organization to actively manage the process and it offers the company an integral overview of the entire innovation cycle. We never know whether new market introductions will indeed become successful, but the number and type of ideas in the different stages of the Innovation Pipeline allow an organization to predict the creation of value for the business. The further an idea develops in the pipeline, the higher the probability of market introduction. As the potential value for each concept has been estimated, a company can start making forecasts.
As the Innovation Pipeline is a controlled process, it allows the organization to measure its success. The company can introduce KPI’s and thus keep track of performance, giving the company a steering mechanism. The company can use this to take specific actions in order to improve the performance of the process.
This pipeline principle is a very helpful starting point to think about your own innovation process. Where do the ideas that flow into the pipeline come from? How does our company organize ideation? Do we generate enough ideas? Based on what criteria do we select ideas for further concept development? How do we allocate our resources and budgets? Etc, etc.
Let the Innovation Pipeline help you improve your business and generate more value!