What Is Stage-Gate® Innovation?

Making Sure Only Your Best Ideas Make It to Market

What Is Stage-Gate® Innovation? - Making Sure Only Your Best Ideas Make It to Market

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Regular quality-control checkpoints help you to concentrate on your best ideas.

Rashid is nervous. He started his new job as a product development manager at a medical devices firm just eight months ago, but he's about to make the case to the board that it should pull the plug on several expensive R&D projects. What's more, many of the people at the table signed off on the original ideas.

In Rashid's view, poor management of the innovation process is one of the key reasons for his company's financial difficulties. Too much work is based on unfocused and flimsy research. Some ideas have gone through so many iterations that they've been overtaken by rival products, and yet the investment continues.

Things could have been very different if the company had used a more disciplined and structured creative approach, such as the Stage-Gate® Innovation Process.

In this article, we'll explore what Stage-Gate Innovation is, and see how you can apply it to creative development in your organization.

What Is Stage-Gate Innovation?

The Stage-Gate Innovation Process is a methodology for transforming new ideas into successful products using a structured and systematic creative process. It was originally developed in the 1980s by business academics Dr Robert G. Cooper and Dr Scott J. Edgett.

The approach begins by splitting the often complex and chaotic product-development process into six chunks, or "stages." An idea can progress from one stage to the next only if there's evidence to justify it doing so.

In Cooper and Edgett's terminology, this "Go/Kill" decision takes place at a "gate," which is managed by "gatekeepers." Figure 1 shows an example of the activities that you might conduct during each stage and gate....

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