innovation process article

I’ve just read interesting article on Business Week:

about Whirpool’s innovation process that evaluates and screen thousands of ideas.
Whirlpool’s three-pronged definition of innovation:
It must meet a consumer need in a fresh way;
it must have the breadth to become a platform for related products; and
it must lift earnings.
The final section of the article:

What can executives learn from Whirlpool’s approach to screening ideas?

• Define Innovation A brief, concrete definition of innovation will help employees evaluate new concepts at the front end, screening out those that just don’t fit. As a concept progresses, keep returning to the definition to make sure that the idea still clears the bar.

• Never Kill Good Ideas A concept that might not be worth pursuing today—because of limited resources, for instance, or the lack of a partner—might be next year’s innovation. Don’t kill projects. Shelve them, and annually review all concepts for possible resurrection.

• Adjust Your Criteria Early in the process Whirlpool concepts are required to meet the basic definition of innovation. As projects progress, the evaluation criteria become more rigorous. Begin with easier requirements to avoid killing off concepts before they can be developed.

• Link Idea Screening with Strategy A concept might be innovative but still not smart for a company to develop because it would take the company too far afield. Make sure that the people evaluating ideas do so in the context of the company’s strategic goals.

They give few months to add-on innovations and 3-5 years to new-to-the world innovations.

I can’t often find this kind of story such as this article, where the innovation process is described in detail. So, this is one of the most useful articles Ive read in this year.

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