The authors of this paper contend that too many firms' innovation initiatives are shackled with archaic budgeting and planning methodologies that are intended to protect managers from the embarrassment of blown budgets, missed deadlines, or market flops but instead suppress learning and adaptability, both critical to achieving successful commercialization of unique ideas. This paper aims to address this issue.
The authors propose that the first step to rid myopia and rigidity from the stage‐gate approach is to re‐conceive it as an assumption‐driven process centered on learning, rather than simply a sequence of activities marching towards a pre‐determined outcome.
The authors suggest that firms should adopt assumption‐driven learning in a series of sequential divergent‐convergent cycles – one cycle per stage – each centered on testing the major assumptions for that stage.
Continuous learning and unlearning is essential to the process of developing raw ideas into viable commercial applications. The key to success is to test assumptions through real‐life experiments – for example, market assumptions should be tested in‐market, manufacturability assumptions should be tested in production.
Firms should adopt assumption‐driven learning in a series of sequential divergent‐convergent cycles – one cycle per stage – each centered on testing the major assumptions for that stage.
Hutchins, N. and Muller, A. (2012), "Beyond stage‐gate: restoring learning and adaptability to commercialization", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 30-35. https://doi.org/10.1108/10878571211221194Download as .RIS
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