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The Innovation Funnel Fallacy

1 Virike Consulting, Finland
2 KONE Elevators, Global Technology, Finland

International Journal of Innovation Science

ISSN: 1757-2223

Article publication date: 25 June 2014



The traditional innovation process - consisting of a funnel coupled with project screening - suffers from several practical shortcomings and flaws. Overemphasis on the role of early stages, such as idea generation, overshadows subsequent phases of equal importance. The drive to feed as many ideas as possible into the funnel may cause congestion that slows down overall progress. Furthermore, the yield may be of low quality if ineffective gates allow too many infertile ideas to pass through the funnel. Processes may be inflexible and slow to react, especially if tied to the corporate planning calendar as often proposed. This is not to imply that these problems are inherent; they are instead the consequences of poor practices.

The authors discuss the disadvantages and suggest an alternative to overcome them. The proposed approach is driven by strategic business options and also introduces additional benefits. It produces savings in sunk costs and prematurely tied-up capital. It contributes to effective and economical use of resources, because a company commits irrevocably to only one step at a time. Lastly, options enable, and by their very nature even demand, active and adaptive management.


Hakkarainen, K. and Talonen, T. (2014), "The Innovation Funnel Fallacy", International Journal of Innovation Science, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 63-72.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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