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 overloaded development pipeline is a chronic problem in innovation. Over the past five years, resources have been a consistent constraint on our ability to deliver growth from innovation. If resources continue to be the bottleneck, then we should seek ways to maximize the value we can create with each unit of resource capacity.
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.
Today, I am continuing to answer questions that we did not get to during the recent Innovation Leader webinar titled Seven Chronic Problems for Innovation Leaders to Address.
Final thoughts on Clayton Christensen’s article in the June 2014 edition of the Harvard Business Review, “The Capitalist’s Dilemma”. I encourage you to read it and think about its application in your own organization. The conclusion of the piece calls for renewing the capitalist system to overcome the collective reluctance to invest in market-creating innovation with four suggested solutions: