What is an innovation funnel?

The Innovation Funnel is a highly adaptable and flexible system that allows ideas (from various channels and sources) to be carefully analyzed and asessed for viability through a structured set of filters and gates. The model is simple: Ideas are evaluated at each stage in the idea management process. These ideas then get passed on through filters and gates, OR they do not get included, for they fail to meet the pre-determined criteria outlined by an organization. Another option, is to archive ideas. On a larger scale, the goal is to generate and collect a large aamount of insight (feedback, questions, suggestions, ideas) that are directly relevant to the current organizationsal situation. (Source: Univeristy of Cambridge, www.cam.ac.uk)

(Image source: www.business-strategy-innovation.com)

Innovation funnels and the front end

The Front End of Inovation (FEI) process includes all idea management activities—from the capturing and elaborating of ideas, through to the formal development of a new idea into one or several requirements. The FEI process is therefore usually characterized by uncertainty as product experts must not only seek out new ideas, but also decide which ideas and product features should be selected for future development.

Including customers in this process is paramount, for it reduces uncertainty and greatly facilitates the idea generation process. However, with the multitude of methods available for customers to communicate, organizations must be able to reach customers where they live, to capture, and manage their valuable insight.

Related blog posts:
Community ideas: Share your ideas and make a difference
Customer Value Management
Customer portals: Gateways to your customers
Customer Idea: Your key to Innovation
Customer Lifecycle Management
Giving Feedback to Customers
Improve Customer Service in Three Steps

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