Yesterday, I spoke at Planview’s Horizons 2014 Annual Customer Conference. The objective of the event is to inspire leaders in portfolio management. Planview sells a great set of software tools that enable a company to manage its pipeline of innovation initiatives and make investment allocation decisions.
The ability to sustain innovation performance over time requires the Chief Innovation Officer to evolve innovation business disciplines and competencies. We can get a short-term improvement in performance by shifting the mix in the innovation portfolio and pushing breakthrough initiatives into market, but the ability of the organization to do these things repeatedly is the key to long-term success.
Over the past couple of months we have explored the twelve questions that should be asked and answered during comprehensive reviews of an innovation portfolio. While these reviews take place infrequently, they provide us with the opportunity to clearly evaluate the choices we are making – or not making – in the management of our innovation investment portfolio.
I spent Sunday afternoon preparing to deliver a training session on portfolio and pipeline management practices. It was easy to pull together a bunch of overview materials and a case study for small groups to work through a portfolio review using sample data from a real company. As I went back over the presentation materials I realized that I had jumped into tactics without adequately addressing the strategic objectives of these business disciplines.
Is the portfolio balanced by phase and by expected launch date?
Last week we wrote about many different dimensions of balance in innovation portfolio management. Ensuring a healthy mix of initiatives that vary by risk and reward, technology, and geography are all important. Another key balance question is that of the timing of your innovation initiatives.