Innovation Series – Part 5: Formal Process of Innovation

In the latest video in the iP2Biz video on Innovation, John Bacon walks step by step through the Formal Process of Innovation and the Front End, as we compare and contrast both processes.

Back in December, iP2Biz started a series on Innovation and Product Development in today’s environment. For the full video series, click here.


Video Transcript

In this discussion, we will walk step by step through the Formal Process of Innovation and the Front End, as we compare and contrast both processes. Eric Almquist said it best:

“While both processes are designed to support a company’s innovation efforts, the two processes could not be more different. They require different management, executive support, people, and goals.”

Every category in the table shows a difference between the two processes, if not a complete opposite. We present the Formal Process first only because it contains what most people know already, even though it occurs AFTER the Front End. I’ll highlight a few key differences.
The formal Process requires a lot of structure, and strict procedure. It has a linear order of steps and clear end points with predictable completion dates. On the other hand, the Front End is not linear, has little need for a similar structure which can inhibit dynamic interaction and limit the iterative process.
When mentioning ideas, goals and achievement, we see that with a higher number of ideas in the front end, comes a higher percentage rate of dropout. This usually results from ideas that aren’t quite on target with alignment of strategy, or ideas which are simply not understood or supported by people working in the Formal Process.
Based on the above mentioned structure, budgets are always going to be different. The initial budget required changes in the Front End, yet is fixed and committed in the Formal Process. After that, revenue and cost estimates end up changing and are uncertain in the Front End, yet tend to be defined and accurate in the Formal Process.
Interestingly, it has been shown that most of the work done in the Formal Process requires thinking on the left side of the brain, and that of the front end is done on the right side. Most of us aren’t able to utilize both hemispheres simultaneously.

I hope this step-by-step analysis has been of use to you to better understand the formal process and Front End of Innovation on a comparison scale. It is often important to note key differences to better understand the big picture.

The following video segments will provide insight into how we understand effectiveness and success, frustrations, bureaucracies, and collaboration in the Front End.

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