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Seizing the Silver Lining Checklist #2: Innovation Potential

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Scott Anthony's 10 part series highlighting what companies need to do to seize the Silver Lining will be published on Harvard Business Online and The Silver Lining launching on June 1.

In the second part of his series he discusses innovation potential. Here's from his article as it relates to innovation,

Does your organization have a handle on the future potential of innovation projects and existing businesses?

Like it or not, most companies are going to have to trim their innovation investments. In many cases, this means shutting down some ideas in the development pipeline. In other cases, it might mean shutting down or selling off a product line or a business unit.

Companies shouldn't make these decisions haphazardly. A simple inventory detailing the potential of existing efforts and businesses can help companies make the right strategic decisions.

When making decisions about in-development ideas look beyond short-term financial projections. Focus instead on upside potential, residual risk, and the cost of testing the most critical assumptions. The degree to which the consumer has an important, unsatisfied job-to-be-done should play a critical role in the process. For existing businesses, look at unexploited potential in existing markets and to-be-created potential in new markets.

For example, General Electric regularly assesses the industry attractiveness and business strength of each of its business units. A business unit in an increasingly unattractive industry or with deteriorating potential could be a candidate for divestiture.

A simple way to get started is to ask leaders in different business lines to develop a list of existing projects and a simple checklist to prioritize existing ideas. These actions can help make sure everyone is viewing today's business through similar lenses.

What do you think of Anthony's use of the Innovation? What can companies learn from his Silver Lining techniques?

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