Three Tools for Planning Innovation Projects
Simplistically, we can categorize people into two frames of mind – those that plan and those that fly by the seat of their pants. And while some short-lived success can be achieved via spontaneous activity, long-term business objectives are best met by acting on thoughtful, considered strategic plans. In fact, effective planning in project management leads to the highest levels of success for IT (information technology) projects (1).
In successful New Product Development (NPD) efforts, planning is also important. Some might argue that innovation is a creative pursuit and should not be hampered by rigorous templates or predetermined processes. Yet, following NPD processes, such as staged and gated phases (see Figure 1 below), leads to the greatest level of innovation success (2). Planning does not suppress the creative process, instead it simply frames the issues and offers context for enhanced idea generation.