Podcast: Execution – Translating Ideas To Innovation

philmckinney | April 13, 2008

Podcast

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Key components of an innovation execution approach

  • Gated funding model
  • Gated milestone management

Gated Funding Model

  • Limit funding until key deliverables are met
  • Recognize that not all ideas will result in products.  Manage the budget to ensure there are ample funds to see the best ideas through the innovation pipeline

Gated Milestone Management

  • Setup gates that answer key questions/challenges in translating the idea to a product/service
  • I use four gates .. you should setup gates that make sense to your team/project/organization
      • Market Valuation (e.g. how many customers have the problem being solved?)
      • Customer Validation (e.g. Do customers agree that the solution address the problem?  Will they pay for the solution?  Does the business case justify the investment?)
      • Limited Trial/Test Market (e.g. Will the customer actually purchase the solution?  Does the business case/value chain hold up?)
      • Launch!
  • How are gates milestone charts created? (Sample)
      • Define the groups/teams (e.g. engineering, marketing, sales, etc) needed to translate the idea into a product/service
      • Setup “swim lanes” for each group/team vertically along the left side
      • For each swim lane, setup the timeline of the deliverable
      • Define the gates vertically across the timeline
      • A gate is defined as:  “all deliverables to the left of the gate must be completed to satisfy the exit criteria”

How do you setup the Killer Innovation Execution approach?

  • Define the gates you will use to manage your innovation programs
  • Define the key questions that need to be answered? (e.g. Is the market big enough?).  These will be the gates.
  • Define the exit criteria for each gate.
      • Make the criteria as objective as possible (e.g. Must have a total addressable market of $x with a sustainable margin of y%, etc.)
  • Define the deliverables the would be needed to answer each question and satisfy the exit criteria for each gate
  • Break-down the deliverables by the groups/teams
  • Setup the gate milestone chart (see above)
  • Break-down the funding by gates.  Project out the full project funding need and then revise the outer gates as you gather more information.

Managing the execution …

  • Make each gate a “hard” gate with a “time box” (date when the gate will be completed)
  • Have the teams perform “gate reviews” at each gate.
      • Review the gate and its deliverables
      • Status against the exit criteria
      • Walk through findings and insights learned during the gate
      • Status against funding
      • Define deliverables and exit criteria for next gate
      • Update funding for next gate and total funding requirement
      • Ask for “go” or “no go” approval to move forward

Sample Gate Milestone Chart – PDF Version (License: CC – Non-commercial, Attribution)

MP3 of the April 13th Podcast:  Execution – Translating Ideas To Innovations

 

Comments

Comments(5)

Posted by Tim Szazynski on Jun 25th, 2008

Phil I’ve listened to several of your podcasts but benefited the most from the one regarding “gated funding.” I’m a carpenter by trade that is passionate about Health and Wellness…I’m currently reading a book called,”Investors in Your Backyard.” It has some very good info but doesn’t break the process down like you do…It makes complete sense and if I was on the Investors side of the fence I would feel much better shelling out capitol in stages. And then only after milestones had been successfully hit…I’ve never asked others for money like I am about to do here shortly and making a proposal with gates in place give me much more confidence. I appreciate what your doing and for paying it forward…I will do the same…thanks again Phil, tim

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