Sometimes we find ourselves drifting the middle of an innovation project. We are not going win the direction we wanted but we are not sure where we need it to go, causing the project to fail or to expand in budget and time.
Highly successful innovation managers define and structure projects for success, a simple Project Definition Scorecard guides the project scope and direction. These are some principles that can guide you through the next successful innovation project:
- Project Objective
The most important part of the project is to have a clear definition of the project’s overarching goal. What are we trying to achieve by completing the project? Is it a new product, increase know-how or capability, or increase your brand awareness on a specific market, technology or capability.
- Technical Targets
Once the objective is defined we can start to develop the specific, measurable targets for the project. These targets let us define success. A measurable, non-subjective goal is essential to really know when the project is completed and whether is successful or not.
- Key Deliverables
The deliverables are how we demonstrate we have achieved the technical targets, the results of the project. They could be in the form of a technology demonstrator, a set of sample parts, a technical article, and positioning paper, etc
Deliverables are critical, as they should drive business. As such deliverables should capture the attention of Sr. Management and industry leaders.
- Problem we are solving
We need to make sure there is a problem for our solution. Are we addressing market needs or trends with the project? Does it support our current strategy or is designed to move us forward into a new space? Is it driven by customer demand, legislation, etc..?
- Timing and Budget
It is essential to have clear expectations of the project timing and the resources budgeted to complete it. Resources are not only the money required, but also equipment and key people and its availability to support a successful project.
- Partners and funding
Have we questioned ourselves, if we should be doing the project alone or it would benefit from collaborating partners? Is it worth considering customer or research institution for collaboration? Is there funding available to leverage internal resources?
- Monetization Plan
Once we have delivered a successful project. How are we going to monetize the results? We should plan to demonstrate the project at technology road shows and other trade and specialist events. Socialize the project with technical papers, marketing publications and speaking engagements. Finally, does the IP provide us with unique capabilities or the ability to differentiate ourselves?
- Expected Returns
It is critical that we have a good understanding of how and when we can expect revenue to start due to the project. Are we selling the new capabilities or can we charge a premium pricing? Can we sell the IP?
Technology & Business Innovation
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