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So far in this series of posts, I've described three ingredients for turning innovation into a core business process:
This trio lays the foundation: It defines the process ground rules. It ensures that there's transparency throughout the organization. And it opens the door to discovering what the market really needs.
The fourth ingredient ties it all together, and is simply this: Make objective decisions based on what is best for the company.
Sounds intuitive, doesn't it? Yet, in the heat of battle, when we're scrapping for budgets and project approval, this noble ideal can easily become tainted by our own biases. Worse, we can turn such behavior into a cycle of subjective decision-making that inevitably leads to chronic product failure.
Instead, I suggest a method called the objective decision context. It's a way of arranging and comparing all of the product possibilities — incremental enhancements, new products and breakthroughs — using decision criteria that is aligned with company goals.
How does it work?
First, pull together a set of decision categories and a set of scoring criteria. Ensure that key stakeholders agree on the criteria and target scores for each category. Then overlay the matrix with a list of products and features.
Here are some examples of categories and criteria:
With the right innovation management software, you can organize your categories and criteria, vary the combination of products and features, and then use analytics and dashboards to calculate and compare the scored results.
By using a structured approach to decision-making, you'll see how each project candidate stacks up against the others in terms senior management will appreciate.