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Processes to manage the ideas pipeline.

Dr John Higgins, Virtual Group Business Consultants, is an expert in processes to manage the ideas pipeline and how to manage the paradox of creative openness with iron discipline is the key to value creation through innovation. Successful organisations excel at applying the necessary tools and actively embrace the required paradigms.

Currently, we are witnessing a paradigm shift from closed innovation to open innovation.

Closed innovation is a view that says companies must generate their own ideas and then develop, build, market, distribute, service, finance and support them on their own.

Open innovation assumes that firms can and should use external as well as internal ideas and internal and external paths to market. It also assumes that internal ideas can be taken to market through external channels, outside a firm's current businesses to generate additional value.

An idea pipeline, or funnel which screens out large numbers of low value ideas at an early stage, has three critical components. They are:

The fuzzy front end which scans for ideas and concepts, combines, reframes and selects from the many, a few for further development

A development process with a rigourous decision (or gate) process which ensures that resources are concentrated on value creation

A commercialisation process which nurtures valuable concepts through commercial introduction.

For most organisations the critical tools are:

  1. A managed process which gathers and selects the "right" sort of ideas from many sources
  2. An investment decision process which applies what is learned in development to screen out less valuable ideas
  3. A portfolio management process which considers all the components in the pipeline to ensure balanced delivery of strategy at maximum value
  4. A business modelling process which embraces consideration of many alternatives and the inherent uncertainties of innovation.

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