Two (of many) Innovation Process Models

Part 4 of 5 in my Business Innovation Series: In this post, we’ll do an introductory dive into two innovation process models (the Development Funnel and Stage-Gate).

Innovation Series (Part 4 of 5): Process Model Examples

This post talks about two popular process models to add to your innovation project toolbox!

Links to the previous posts:

Innovation Meets Product Development

Ever dream of innovation process models to help seamlessly innovate your way through new product development and toward a product/service that is so in-demand that it’s not only timeless, but everyone LOVES it, and it’s profitable?

Like, being the lead creator/developer/”Imagineer” (thank Disney for the term) of the laptop or smartphone you’re on right now.


Or have the flawless capacity to develop the next wave of sharing economy services and compete with Uber or Airbnb.

Big dreams, of course. However, NOT impossible because they, well, already exist.

So how do all of those castle-in-the-air ideas go direct-to-consumer?

➡️Most don’t, and those who do have a combo of great and extensive marketing.
➡️And luck.
➡️Sometimes a lot of luck.

So the question remains — how do products go from concept to reality?

Innovation Process Models!

To spare you from another definition, let’s instead hone in on what goes into new product development to help us better understand (two of) the behind-the-scenes processes/development models.

As a side note, there are numerous development models, and any one of them can range from three to thirteen stages (Tidd & Bessant, 2014, p. 183).

The ones in this post will max out at two-ish.

Development Funnel

First, meet the “development funnel for new product development.” As a reminder, Fig. 10.2 is one variation. Still, it helps us visualize the reduction of uncertainty and different resource constraints that project managers might encounter (and need to consider) throughout new product development (Tidd & Bessant, 2014, pp. 182-83). In other words, it’s a big-picture view of the entire process.

One example of an Innovation Process Model is the development funnel!

Stage-Gate Approach

For a more detailed visualization of product development processes, let’s look at Fig. 10.1, an example of the stage-gate approach (Tidd & Bessant, 2014, p. 182).

Another Innovation Process Model is the stage-gate process!

The stage-gate approach builds upon each stage that we saw in Fig. 10.2. However, it also incorporates checks and balances between each stage to aid decision-making, risk assessment, monitoring, and more.

Summing Up

Of course, these models only touch the surface of what needs to be considered in new product development processes. However, they provide a good starting point to help us visualize and imagine the components that go into making the products we use every day (and in the future).

?What other product development models have you heard of or used?

In part five, I discuss ways to measure business innovation for tracking innovation investment success.

Main Source:

Tidd, J. & Bessant, J. R. (2014). Strategic innovation management. Wiley.

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