Micrex CEO’s Blog

Odds Of Success (Part 1)

We were taught in business school that only 1 in 20 new products succeeded. There was not a lot of definition around “new” or “success”, but it was a daunting enough metric by itself.
Roulette Wheel
As an adult it seems more like 1 in 50. Of course, it depends on what is meant by success and failure and one’s industry, but it remains a daunting number. I understand that in pharmaceuticals the ratio is more like 1 – 10,000!

Understanding and managing these odds have interesting implications for product developers…

Methodology Gives Those With No Ideas Something to Do

The title above was taken from Mason Cooley’s “City Aphorisms”. You have got to love it.

In brief – here is how large corporations approach product development. It begins with idea generation. This is the brain storming – the hard-to-define process aptly called “The Fuzzy Front End”. While there are scholarly works dedicated to just this portion of new product development, this is probably the least well-understood part of the process.

Ideas that successfully exit the “front end” will then go through a series of stage/gates before finally being commercialized as a new product. These stages are relatively easy to define and are usually well-understood by the host company.

As much has been written about The Fuzzy Front End as well as Stage/Gate, I recommend other sources for a more detailed explanation.

Despite the existence of this conceptual framework, companies have a very difficult time innovating successfully.

This blog will explore why this is and what can be done about it.