My last post described how Innosight follows a three-stage process to evaluate investment proposals from outside entrepreneurs. But deciding how to invest in ideas at a corporation is a different beast. In The Innovator’s Guide to Growth we suggested that companies should create one-page “Idea Resumes” that capture the essence of an idea on a single PowerPoint slide.

After this starting point, however, our VC process holds pretty well. The first decision is whether to explore an idea more deeply. Consider some combination of the following criteria:

  1. Does what we hope to do fit our strategy? (If you don’t have an innovation strategy, go and create one.)
  2. Can we get to the market without any technological miracles?
  3. Can we do a simple, back-of-the-envelope calculation to cross an identified threshold for the opportunity size? (If you don’t have an identified threshold, go and create one.)
  4. Is there someone who is pounding the table to push the idea forward?

Don’t kill anything at this stage. Write down why you have shelved certain ideas, and make a routine habit of looking in the “idea refrigerator” to see if something has changed that would cause you to reevaluate an idea.

Read the rest at Scott’s Harvard Business Review blog.

Scott D. Anthony is managing director, Innosight Asia-Pacific.

One comment on “How to Choose the Ideas Your Company Should Invest In

  • Now, that’s the trickiest question of them all and it’s like gambling. I love that you wrote: “Don’t kill anything at this stage..” Even that idea you jot down on a piece of napkin can be worth a lot someday, and thanks to idea-mapping tools out there, we don’t have to loose another piece of genius.. Cheers!

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