This is it. You’ve aligned calendars and will have all the right decision-makers in the room. It’s the hbr_130x130moment when they either decide to give you resources to begin to turn your innovative idea into reality, or send you back to the drawing board. How will you make your most persuasive case?

Inside most companies, the natural tendency is to marshal as much data as possible. Get the analyst reports that show market trends. Build a detailed spreadsheet promising a juicy return on corporate investment. Create a dense PowerPoint document demonstrating that you really have done your homework.

Assembling and interpreting data is fine. Please do it. But it’s hard to make a purely analytical case for a highly innovative idea because data only shows what has happened, not what might happen.

If you really want to make the case for an innovative idea, then you need to go one step further. Don’t just gather data. Generate your own. Strengthen your case and bolster your own confidence – or expose flaws before you even make a major resource request – by running an experiment that investigates one or a handful of the key uncertainties that would need to be resolved for your idea to succeed.

That may sound daunting if you haven’t tried it. And, you may well ask, how do you do it when you lack a dedicated team and budget?  Fortunately, there’s a fairly systematic way to go about it.

Start by focusing your attention on resolving the biggest question on the minds of the people who will decide to give you those resources.

Read the rest at Harvard Business Review

Scott Anthony is the managing partner of Innosight.


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