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Fail Fast – An Internal Screening System For New Product Development

In the brainstorming phase of a project or new endeavor, there’s the old adage that says: There’s no such thing as a bad idea! While this is true at the most basic level, it feels as though there should be an addendum to that quote.

There’s no such thing as a bad idea… as long as you quickly identify that it is bad and move to the good ones.  

A strong internal evaluation process can be extremely beneficial when you’re working on new product development. It is simply amazing how well an easy-to-use tool such as this screens out bad ideas before a dime is spent on them.  It introduces valuable things like:

  1. A focus on defining a customer need. As each idea is presented, ask and clearly identify what problem it is addressing. Make sure that you are explicitly communicating the benefit.
  2. The ability to screen out ideas before dollars are spent. Save research, time, and money by first polling the brains at your own company. You might realize that you already have the answer to whether or not something is feasible.
  3. A natural record of past ideas. Implementing a thorough screening process helps build a habit of documentation and means that you won’t waste time revisiting an old idea.
  4. An objective process. With a scoring system, you can easily lobby for strong ideas and veto weaker pitches in a way that feels purely numerical, not personal.

Ready to start taking advantage of all those perks? Download our template for recording and scoring ideas internally.  Our treat.  This will help you get up to speed quickly.

Documenting and Scoring New Ideas During Product Development

A well-documented idea makes your evaluation process easier. Our Internal Screening Guide (provided in the download) outlines our five recommended elements for a quality description. These include factors that ensure your consumer is placed at the forefront of your development, as well as tactics for evaluating if the product is a good fit for your brand.

Of course, your documentation technique can be somewhat personalized to your company or the project at hand. Our guide simply provides you with the foundation you’ll need to get everyone on the same page.

Once all ideas are documented in a uniform manner, you can score them. This provides an objective way for you to see how they measure up against each other. Objectivity is your best friend during these evaluation sessions, as it can speed things along and help you avoid hurting any feelings or defensiveness.

Our scoring system is also included in our download. Each member of your development committee can give their input, and an easily calculated average will give you the final result!  It works best when at least a handful of your team members complete the form.

Prioritizing Internal Company Ideas

So you have your pitches, you have your scores… how do you make sense of these numbers and decide what to act on? It’s not as simple as launching your highest-scoring ideas. You’ll also want to take into account the effort required to successfully implement each plan.

You might have a perfect-scoring pitch, but if it’s not realistic for your budget or timeline, you’ll want to let it go. You can find your threshold of plausibility using a prioritization matrix, also included in the download!

And, speaking of priorities… Your number one priority right now should be downloading that resource. This free guide will help you to make sure that every new idea gets the proper attention and resources—or lack thereof—that it deserves.

True North Market Insights is here to assist you with all of your product and market research needs. To schedule a call with one of our professionals, click here.


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