How to reverse your innovation pipeline

Most industries have adopted a pipeline process to manage their new business ideas and transform them in real product. This process is mostly flawed. Let’s see why and how we can reverse the problem.

Traditional innovation pipelines take hundreds of ideas at year one, refine twenty or thirty of them, prototype a dozen tops, kill them along the way, and try to exit with a single market-viable product after three years. This process bets on the fact that you’ll have a gold nugget in the ideas that initially fuelled the pipe. This is rarely so.

And most importantly, this process is designed to push down the pipe market perspectives and technologies that seemed like good ideas, but that invariably become dated three years later. In our opinion, the traditional innovation pipeline has always been a clumsy sunk cost machine.

That is why we always advocate for alternative strategies such as a reverse-pipeline.

innovation reverse-pipeline - innovation copilots
With this tool, the core value is that 1) you update every month (or quarter tops) your market and technology perspectives and 2) after a while you cruise with a critical mass of opportunities (both documented scenarios and live prototypes) to ensure the frequent occurrence of positive business outcomes.

As often with innovation, the keyword is optionality.

Author: Philippe

After obtaining a PhD in biotechnologies, and working in a medical diagnostic startup, Philippe Méda has managed teams and companies in the medical and pharmaceutical industries for over fifteen years. Following an MBA in 2007 Philippe founded Merkapt, a consulting agency in charge of co-piloting innovation for startups and large multinationals, in Europe, and Asia. Since then he has been training 200 to 300 startups a year, consulted for dozens of multinationals on rupture innovation or corporate incubation, and was directly involved in more than 150 startups building their market fit and scaling up their business. Philippe also teaches innovation and business model design in key MBA programs in Paris and Shanghai and is now living in Amsterdam.