Reducing the risk of failure in new product development

When it comes to innovation there are no shortcuts. Developing and launching new products and services isn’t easy and failure should be expected as part of the process – but not all failures are created equal.

There are a number of types of failure – project delays, cost overruns, misalignment with company strategy are just three – that are directly attributable to the earliest stages of the innovation process.

It’s these early stages of the innovation process, that occur before new product development formally begins, that we term the ‘front end’ of innovation (FEI). It’s in this phase that ideas are generated and opportunities are recognised. The subsequent analysis, prioritisation and selection of these ideas and opportunities needs to be done in line with the organisation’s innovation strategy and project portfolio.

This practice guide discusses ways in which the front end of innovation can be organised to avoid some common failures and improve the success of the innovation pipeline. It considers two main types of innovation front end: idea-driven and opportunity driven. The former occurs when an innovative idea is generated either inside or outside the firm.