A recent Harvard Business Review article suggested that resources for new innovation initiatives in most companies could easily be freed up simply by killing a portion of what the authors called “Zombie Projects,” initiatives that lurk in the unsanctioned shadows of the organization. In firms without a disciplined portfolio management process, the zombies are often running the show.
The total amount of time required to turn an idea into a marketable product varies dramatically – and it should. Some ideas take longer to percolate while others need to simmer some while a market for them matures. Measuring total cycle time is not very meaningful nor helpful for the Chief Innovation Officer.
The aggregate expected commercial value of the innovation pipeline is a forward-looking metric that measures the risk-adjusted contribution a company expects from their current innovation initiatives. It can be used both to track how the value trends over time and can be compared to expectations set in the business plan to determine whether you have a prayer of delivering against those expectations.