Innovation is different and distinct from creativity in that it is idea selection, development and commercialisation as opposed to creativity, which is problem identification and idea generation. The core issue with innovation management is, therefore, how to select those ideas that are most likely to succeed?
Ideas have to pass though an idea funnel as most organizations lack the resources to try out all their good ideas. 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.
Within the idea funnel, ideas must regularly pass GO and KILL points. Here it is decided whether an idea should remain in order to ascertain its potential or be killed off and make way for a new idea. The selection process can be difficult – drop an idea and you may have lost that one gem; keep it in and you disallow another potentially good idea reaching fruition.
Certain ideas have more probability of success than others.
a) Some ideas will naturally have cultural, technical or other impediments. Condom use in Africa to prevent AIDS is subject to cultural taboos. Non-carbon fuel cars must beat back resistance from the oil industry. E-commerce suffers from fear of Internet fraud. Impediments can be plotted against the S-curve in order to generate a risk profile for each idea under consideration.
b) Some ideas have an inherent greater chance of success than others, depending on their origin. Franklin (2003) argues that ideas that have resulted from solution spotting – when individuals have sought solutions for particular problems – have a significantly greater chance of success than most other ideas. The nearest competitors are ideas that originate from random events.
This topic is 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 http://www.managing-creativity.com.
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Kal Bishop, MBA
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