Making it Real 1: Scope’s new product development process

Guest blog:  Adam Berry, Head of Fundraising Development at Scope talked to Innovation Group LIVE! on 11 January 2011.  Here are his thoughts on Scope’s new product development process and how it has helped them make better decisions.

So you’ve selected your idea, it’s brilliant of course, but now you have to make it real and bring it to life, and let’s make no bones about it, this can be a real slog. It needs commitment and passion and perspiration but at the end of it all, that seed of an idea may well make it and be launched as a brand new product and it will all be worthwhile.

The reality, of course, is that not all of our fantastic ideas are going to make it. But innovation is all about making mistakes and if all of our ideas developed into fully fledged products then something is probably going wrong.

However, to give an idea the very best chance of bearing fruit rather than withering on the vine, a product development process is a useful tool. Below is a short video of me explaining why.

There are many versions out there – a quick Google search will reveal everything from the bewilderingly complex to the ridiculously simple. But most break down into similar parts – a typical process starts with a stage for screening ideas, and moves through a concept stage, to developing a business case, prototyping, launching a product, and finally, reviewing.

At Scope we have adopted a process where each stage is followed by a ‘gate’. The gate is where the decision whether to progress to the next stage or not is made and this allows us to make much better decisions about allocating resources.

We have found that as we get better at using the process the number of stages we need shrinks and if you are about to embark on this I would certainly recommend using as few stages as you can get away with.

Of course, it won’t stop you making mistakes but it will help you to make better decisions. Our experience so far is that it has cut the time it takes to get a product up to the point of testing substantially and as the process embeds, it is becoming a natural part of our work and innovation is beginning to flourish.

The Product Development Process Adam used is an adapted version of stage-gate and looks like this


This entry was posted in Case study, Practical support, Training and events and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Like this? Read more

Posts written by guests who have contributed to NCVO projects and events.

Comments are closed.