Evaluating and selecting innovative ideas in the Front-End of Innovation
Abstract: Background & PurposeThe inability to recognize and identify new upcoming innovations cause a great amount oflarge established firms to get outcompeted within their market. The challenge to identify newinnovations in combination with companies’ finite resources makes it crucial for companiesto make the right decisions regarding what ideas to select in the Front-End of Innovation.Ideas in the front end of innovation are characterized by an uncertain nature with limitedamount of information. An adaptable innovation process is vital to help companies evaluateand select the right ideas. The high amount of uncertainty regarding innovation ideas leads tocompanies using inconsistent approaches to evaluate innovation ideas. Wrong decisionswithin the front end of innovation tend to lead to time-consuming and expensive deviations inlater phases. Consequently, the aim of this study is to investigate how large establishedSwedish firms maneuver this challenge. The purpose of this study is to contribute insightsregarding how established Swedish firms evaluate and select innovation ideas in the front endof innovation.Theory & MethodologyAn extensive literature review of scholars highlighting the front end of innovation anddifferent methods to evaluate and select between innovation ideas are included in the study.The research design of the study is based upon an inductive approach. The research designtakes the form of a multiple-case study. Furthermore, twelve qualitative semi-structuredinterviews with respondents from established Swedish firms regarding how the companiesevaluate and select between innovation ideas were conducted.Findings & ConclusionEstablished Swedish firms are employing a front-end innovation process that is divided intodifferent stages. Clustered together, these could be divided into a first, second, and last stagewhere they throughout the process screened ideas that they could ensure wouldn’t fulfill thefirm's predetermined requirements. Apart from the screening within these stages, the firmsaimed at throughout the process receive further information regarding the innovation ideasvalue in different areas.Both the process of gathering information as well as the screening was performed througheither intuition or more analytical and often through a mixture of these two called a hybridapproach. As innovation ideas are characterized by an uncertain nature with limited amountof information, the firms commonly performed a lean start-up methodology. Thismethodology favoured utilizing intuition initially to set up hypotheses which then areanalyzed throughout the process with more analytical methods. In other words, the overalltrend was that the usage of intuition was mainly performed within the first stage, which thendiminished along the process. In contrast, the usage of analytical methods increased along theprocess and was the main basis of the final last stage evaluation and selection.
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