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Innovation, Idea Selection, Valuation

There is no sure fire route to commercial success, but one can maximize the chances of selecting those ideas that are most likely to succeed. Organizations short of R & D resources must implement such processes. The Economist (2003) states that 3000 bright ideas result in 100 worthwhile projects, which are winnowed down to four development programmes. And four such development programmes are required to stand any chance of getting one winner.

So how do we value ideas? There are quite a few categories of evaluation. Some include:

a) Those types of ideas that have been most successful in the past. Franklin (2003) notes at least six types, including need spotting, solution spotting, market research resultants, random event, mental invention, trend following. Each type has it's own percentage of success.

b) Fit with the firm. Katz (2003) argues that ideas are more likely to succeed if the firm has i) the strategic fit, ii) the technical expertise and iii) the business competencies to make it work.

c) Utterbeck (1994) notes that practical impediments can make or break a valuable idea. For instance, the cultural resistance to condoms in Africa have contributed to the spread of HIV. He has devised the S-curve, which allows relative measurement of ideas against practical impediments.

d) The timing of GO and KILL decisions have an impact. When an idea is in the pipeline, a premature KILL decision may not allow the potential of an idea to be fully realised. However, keeping it in the GO state may use up valuable resources that hinder other valuable ideas.

e) Success is more likely if the benefits to the consumer have been established. These can be measured in various ways, for example, rating on productivity, simplicity, convenience, risk, fun, image, environmental, purchase, delivery, use, supplements, maintenance, disposal etc.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from

Kal Bishop, MBA


You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on


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