Financial Speedbumps for Innovation

The creative process of birthing breakthrough innovations can provide a substantial top-line boon but it too often suffers a fatal flaw felt in failed product launch after failed product launch.

Welcome to the Innovation Graveyard. Hundreds of millions of dollars get lost here.

Most innovations fail because they don’t get buy-in from the people who take them to market at key points in the process – and in words that motivate them. These marketers and product managers speak the language of money.

Find ways to build bridges with a larger pool of stakeholders to ensure the financial return of a firm’s innovation investment, as well as practical tips and exercises for getting a sense of what innovations will make at each point in the innovation process.

This larger audience includes every product manager, research and development professional, product marketer, and innovation professional, as well as the directors, vice presidents, and C-level leadership who are responsible for the budgets and outcomes of the innovation efforts they sponsor.

They all care because they will be able to bridge the language of design and innovation with the language of business. Furthermore, use concrete tools, exercises and ways to model out and validate the expected financial return of each effort. As concepts move from the abstract to market-ready, we will offer ways to measure both the possible and probable returns.

This validation process is missing in the innovation frameworks today. By adding this set of tools the business side of the house will become enrolled and energized into the innovation process earlier. Their involvement is the key to winning in the market.

Lastly, we recommend employing a few critical Go/No Go decision-making tools, and a few quick instruments for prioritizing large numbers of possible innovations.

In the end, companies can have more assurance with their innovation spending and make decisions based on what innovations have the best chance of making money.

Most of the exercises noted here complement one another and can be used together to craft a full business case and go-to-market strategy at the end of the process.

image credit: veggiefrog

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Michael Graber is the cofounder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis, Tennessee-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis.

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Michael Graber




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