From Development to Production: The Innovation Process. (Part 3 of 3)

Welcome to Part 3 of the Innovation Process. In Part 1 we looked at Ideas. In Part 2 we looked at Development. Now it’s time to look at Production.

Here’s the handy chart again, just for reference.

Steps in the Innovation Process

Innovation is a process consisting of 3 primary stages; Idea, development and production.

Stage 3: Production

What Usually Happens

Like Stage 2, more often than not, Stage 3 never happens at all. Also like Stage 2, folks from Stage 3 often get involved too early in the process. It’s very simple: focusing on costing and execution at the idea stage never works. Ever.

Again, it’s all about dis-empowering NO. Costing is a legitimate reason to say no once you know what the product is, what it should do and how it will be built. But it has no place in the early stages of the process i.e. Ideas or Development. Costing and the entire “how will you do this?” process is part of the Production phase.

What Should Happen

Stage 3 is where the final result is produced. Now, finally, you can go to town on costing, implementation, scaling and deployment/execution. The Stage 3 team includes all the stakeholders. At this point the idea and the product have been clearly identified. The Production stage should take the refined idea from the Development stage and run with it.

Once underway, Stage 3 actually plays to the executional strengths of big companies. The end goal is defined and now it’s about ruthless execution/implementation. If Stages 1 and 2 have done their jobs, the concept will be difficult to derail. As long as the internal expectation is that the concept has to be produced, you are well on your way.

And Then???

Rinse and repeat is the order of the day. There are lots of details and places where you can get off track, but innovation has to become a core ongoing activity for a company. It’ll be bumpy the first few times through the process. You’ll quickly realize that you can create far more ideas than you can take through Development, and probably more concepts will get through Development than you can take through Production. But that’s okay. If you can successfully make innovation part of corporate daily life, you will eventually reap the benefits.