Stage-gate systems

There could be benefit in the use of a stage-gate system for large innovation processes, where an innovation must pass through approval gates before it can enter the next stage of the project. This can help contain the risk that an innovative idea will not deliver on what is predicted. By limiting the initial investment, the development of the proposal can happen before requiring authorisation for larger investments or greater risk exposure.

For those areas in which uncertainty is greatest, identifying appropriate milestones may be difficult. In those circumstances, it may be helpful to instead define the milestone by referring to what failure would look like. In some areas dealing with complex problems, there might not be one ‘right’ answer. In such circumstances it may be easier to get agreement on what failure is, rather than on what success will be.

Further Reading