- What IS? This covers more than the current state — it assesses what’s happening with competitors, the industry, adjacent industries and opportunities. What ideas exist? What new products or markets can be created?
- What IF? What are key possibilities? If something could change, what would that be? Through deep consumer insight, voice of the customer and a systematic process, options can be identified, assessed and prioritized. Careful oversight is needed at this stage, since viable options don’t happen by accident.
- What WOWS? What is fundamentally different than what’s been done before? How is it better? Sometimes, an innovation is not necessarily something new, but something that brings an idea together perfectly. For example, the iPhone was not the first smartphone, but many have adopted it as the best. Innovation can be combining or recombining capabilities at a different level than before, not necessarily introducing new capabilities.
- What WORKS? Ideas may look good on paper or in a presentation but may work differently when translated into a market test or actual use. Through small experiments and investments, the “fail fast, fail often” mantra should prove what’s viable. Failing doesn’t mean the end. Experiments that fail are sometimes the precursors to a breakthrough, if learnings are applied.
What methods do you use to spot innovation in your projects and programs?
The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.
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