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.
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.