Screen Your New-Product Ideas Sooner -- Not Later
I spent nearly 20 years of my corporate life in R&D and business development roles. Great success was sweet; modest success was bitter-sweet; commercial failure was bitter indeed. In every one of those outcomes the R&D itself was at least adequate and worthy of back-patting. What made the difference in the success of commercialization? Adequate screening of our new-product ideas.
In hindsight this factor's importance should have been obvious. I suppose it was at some academic level. The problem: We almost never did an adequate job of screening because we left out a few steps of the screening process, either because we forgot (or avoided) some key steps or were constrained by edicts "from above."
Look, the steps are not rocket science. They are well known by most. Unfortunately they are all too easy to ignore or address at gut level without rigorous analysis. As proof of their obviousness,
here are my top-10 screening criteria for early-stage product concepts
. (Several of them relate specifically to medical products, but most are generally applicable criteria.) You may have a different take on these, but that really doesn't matter.
What really matters is that your organization adopts its own list and rigorously addresses every criterion on that list before expending significant time and money on product development and commercialization. You will not regret it. And commercial success will be sweet indeed.