While innovation is the heart of many companies’ growth, it can be a long and expensive process to yield just a few winners. A stage-gate process is often used by companies to manage the development process and help ensure the right products are being resourced. At each gate, historically the choice has been to stop the project or proceed to the next stage of development. P&G Ventures has broadened the stage-gate options to include Pass, Pivot or Persevere. Explicitly calling out pivoting as an option is critical for new product development, as it’s the rare idea that is optimally defined at the beginning.
Years ago, a bag of frozen ingredients to make stir fry, called Green Giant Create a Stir was introduced, with the expectation that it would appeal to young adults who like Chinese food. In-market experience showed the core idea was even bigger, as complete meal kits across a range of food types was appealing to both young adults who are starting to cook and empty nesters who were tired of cooking. The innovation morphed into Create a Meal, inspiring competitors to create their own make-at-home meal kits and creating a new category.
Getting a rudimentary idea into the market quickly and learning is critical to long-term success. As you develop new ideas, keep asking “what else might make it even better?”, which may mean adding to the idea or subtracting from it to simplify. Plan for pivots, and discover how far your ideas can go.