The Innovation Gauntlet – From Idea to Market

Killing bad ideas is really easy.   In fact, it’s so easy to kill any idea that common “ground rules” are used during brainstorming sessions to keep ideas alive long enough to see if they have any merit.   Actually, there are a lot of stupid ideas that come out of brainstorming sessions and most should be killed right away.   The trouble is determining which ones.  And the bigger challenge is getting the ideas with merit through the value creation funnel and into the market where value is realized.

In the process of creating value, ideas are the precursor to concepts, concepts to prototypes, prototypes to first production, and first production to commercialized innovation.   No idea is worth anything until it makes it through the entire “idea to market” process.  It’s only at the commercialization stage where ideas finally get monetized; where innovations provide value to customers and customers in turn provide economic value back to the business.

This is true not only of new product innovations but productivity ideas where the “customer” is the business itself.  It’s also true of strategies, which have no impact until they are “commercialized” in the company.  It’s also true for changes to the organizational design, new ways of merchandising, advertising, new manufacturing equipment, you name it… these are all value propositions: some creating value externally, some internally.  They all start out as ideas and have to progress through the Value Creation Funnel to the commercialization end where the idea is finally monetized.  But the obstacles to getting ideas monetized are numerous.

Many companies haven’t looked at themselves as a “value creating” process and so they remain fraught with obstacles that obstruct, impede, derail, or altogether prevent innovation from occurring.  A great many ideas should be killed early on (maybe even in the brainstorming session?) but to consistently create value, businesses need to be designed to effectively and efficiently get ideas to market.