Innovation Life Cycle


What are the key stages in the innovation life cycle?  What is the end-to-end value chain for bringing innovation to market? In "Smart Spenders, the Global Innovation 1000," an article in strategy+business magazine, Barry Jaruzelski, Kevin Dehoff, and Rakesh Bordia write about the four key stages of innovation that the 94 high-leverage innovators have in common.

Four Stages of Innovation
According to Jaruzelski, Dehoff, and Bordia, the four key stages of innovation are:

  • Ideation – Basic research and conception.
  • Project Selection – The decision to invest.
  • Product Development – Building the product or service.
  • Commercialization – Bringing the product or service to market and adapting it to customer demands.

High-Leverage Innovators
Jaruzelski, Dehoff, and Borida write:

"Based on press coverage and interviews with executives, we conclude that each of the 94 high-leverage innovators has built sufficiently strong capabilities in all four links of the value chain, and has seamlessly integrated them, to provide a high level of performance over time."

Key Take Aways
Here’s my key take aways:

  • Use the frame to analyze improvement opportunities.  I found this frame helpful for thinking about the end-to-end cycle for innovation.  After all, what good are ideas if you can’t bring them to market.  A lot of ideas get stuck in the ideation stage. 
  • Walk your innovation cycle.  By walking your end-to-end system for bringing your ideas to end-users, you can find ways to reduce friction or find places to build synergies.  
  • Optimize your system over a stage.  Debottlenecking your end-to-end system is more effective than optimizing just a single stage.

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Comments (4)

  1. What practices can we learn from the leaders in innovation?  How can you improve the success of

  2. What practices can we learn from the leaders in innovation?  How can you improve the success of

  3. ASPInsiders says:

    "A Weekend Read" is my weekly link list of interesting blog articles that I’ve seen throughout