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Clearing the “Fog of Innovation”: Evaluating Ideas Accurately by Recognizing and Controlling Perceptions
Joseph F. Dellaria Perceptive Realities, LLC; www.PerceptiveRealities.com The most innovative products often extend old markets or create new markets. Competition is limited or nonexistent. This translates to higher profit margins and greater revenues for the near- and long-term. Innovative products, services, and processes can provide a segue to a sound financial future for companies who are able to do this consistently. That is the upside of innovation. The challenge lies in mitigating the risk required to consistently deliver innovation. Analysis of the success rates for discovering innovative ideas varies from one out of 3,000–6,000 ideas.1 This is essentially zero and puts companies in a bind. Wall Street and stockholders demand increasing value on the short-term. Sorting through 3000–6000 ideas to find one innovation requires time and significant resources.2 Unproductive efforts to deliver innovation easily can consume the short-term growth demanded by Wall Street and stockholders.3 How can these opposing needs be balanced to provide short-term growth and long-term innovation? Since most ideas do not work, one must develop means to quickly and accurately eliminate ideas that cannot work. Doing so identifies the ideas that can work since that is what will be left. This article presents a new, paradigm breaking method, the Perception Versus Reality Analysis (PVRA), to identify and develop innovative ideas. In addition, the concept of an Innovation Continuum is introduced. The combination of these can assist all involved in product development to capitalize on potential revenues by accurately focusing on the strategies to optimize their opportunities. The PVRA was conceived and developed after recognizing recurring decision-making patterns over nearly thirty years of involvement in research and development in both academic and industrial settings. The author either performed or managed these processes as a Ph.D. scientist for over twentyfive years. The observed patterns were independent of the organization, and the educational or promotional level of the participants. Introspection revealed that the author has participated in most of the situations we will be addressing. It is necessary to review some basic elements of innovation to set the context for the PVRA. Starting with the three basic types of innovation: 1. 2. 3. Incremental/Evolutionary Associative Breakthrough/Disruptive

The following provides a brief overview of each. This is simply to be clear on what is meant for each in the subsequent discussion. Incremental4 innovation will be used to cover incremental and evolutionary innovation. It involves developing innovations, which perfect or extend an existing product in a well-understood market. This results in one or more of the following: a higher performing product, more features desired by the customer, refined and more effective marketing, and cost reductions in all phases of the product (manufacturing, distribution, cost of goods, etc.). Competition is fierce in these markets. Those who innovate in this area enjoy a wealth of supporting information to guide and direct the effort. The market is more defined and well understood. Primary and secondary market research techniques are primary tools for driving segmentation and niche
1Stevens, 2Informal

G. A.; Burley, J. “3,000 Raw Ideas = 1 Commercial Success!”; Research, Technology, Management, May/June, 1977, pp. 16–26. polling of people who have successfully conceived and delivered an innovative product to market suggests that it requires 10–20 years

to complete the process. Most responses were between 15-20 years.
3Chapter

one of “The Innovator’s Solution” describes how this tension was not resolved for two companies: Christiansen, C. M.; Raynor, M.E.

"The Innovator's Solution", Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 2003.
4McKeon,

M. The Truth About Innovation, Pearson/Financial Times, 2008.

Volume 1 · Number 2 · 2009

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International Journal of Innovation Science
http://InnovationScience.org Editor-in-Chief: Brett E. Trusko, PhD Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA Brett.Trusko@mssm.edu Work phone - 212-824-7639
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