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.