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Innovation Management - How Will We Make The Go Or Kill Decisions?

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

One of the most important aspects of innovation management is the ability to know how and when to give further KILL or GO decisions once good ideas have been selected and are pushed into the pipeline, where they must measure-up alongside other good ideas.
The pipeline is also known as an idea funnel or a stage gate system. These terms are useful as they address the fact that the good idea selection process continues in the development stage.

The value of an idea is consistently changing and depends on where it is in the idea funnel process. Innovative firms accept that ideas have a high mortality rate and that GO or KILL decisions have to be made to focus resources on those ideas most likely to succeed.

As the idea funnel narrows, the requirement for staying in the funnel becomes more rigorous 'the process involves tinkering, experimentation, market research and prototyping. The issues raised include:

a) What are the criteria for staying in the funnel?

b) How long will development and experimentation be allowed before the KILL decision is made?

c) How should the KILL decision be made?

A balance needs to be struck. A company that allows the idea to stay in the funnel longer and give it every chance to prove itself will use up valuable resources that could be allotted to other good ideas. However, they have less chance of prematurely killing off a good idea.

These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from
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Kal Bishop, MBA

About the Author: Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on


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