“Innovation is currently a wildly popular, multi-faceted word in business circles. Seeking out new ideas that can be quickly brought to market for profit is as old as commerce, and the realities of our borderless, globalized world requires constant vigilance to stay ahead of competitors.” (Oliver Marks, ZDNet, 2012) So why do many Senior Executives feel that their company’s internal innovation and technology management efforts fall short? Why do many Senior Executives feel good ideas or the creation of compelling intellectual property to drive innovation in product development are not sufficiently supported or prioritized internally? Why is an internal innovation logjam hampering growth and competitiveness?
The Innovation Logjam exists due to many reasons. Some reasons include a lack of methodology of how to manage the creative process at the Front End and how to encourage creative innovation to include rejection of bad ideas with sound analysis. The Innovation logjam is further fueled by a lack of knowledge in how to embrace external technology and independent points of view to break down preconceived notions. Lack of management support for the need to manage innovation before the formal product development process is another reason for the Innovation logjam.
The currently popular Stage Gate Process for Product Development exists to define innovative product opportunities, risks, dependencies, and key elements of success. However, in an attempt to tightly manage the delivery of innovative products to market, the Stage Gate Process may have created a barrier to innovation. A collaborative process at the Front End of Innovation, before the formal Stage Gate process, allows for the inclusion of technology that exists externally from the corporation but is critical to innovation success. Collaborative efforts help to break down the rigidity inherent to the Stage Gate process and break out of the Innovation Logjam.