10 Question Checklist To Help Guide Teams Through The Innovation Journey

The innovation journey checklist

In a the past I have been gifted books about innovation to read and review; I’ve read plenty and have published my reviews here. On my own, I rarely purchase a book about innovation, or business, because it’s highly repetitive. Well, one book that caught my attention last year is Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization by Scott D. Anthony of Innosight; the consulting firm founded by the late Clayton Christensen.

I purchased the book because their perspective on making innovation happen inside organizations matches my own: develop habits and reinforcing systems to develop a culture of innovation.

For aspiring innovator’s, a big challenge in creating habits and systems is “what do these look like on a daily basis?”. On this note, the book is great because it contains many interesting concepts and examples on how to create a culture of innovation. You should definitely read it if you’re interested in creating a culture of innovation.

The Innovator’s Checklist

Towards the end of the book, there is a simple 10 question checklist to help guide teams through the innovation journey. The checklist doesn’t say whether an idea is good or bad, rather it says whether a team is following an approach that maximizes their chances or learning as quickly as possible, regardless of whether their idea is good or bad.

Consider the following 10 questions when starting the innovation journey:

  1. Is innovation development being spearheaded by a small, focused team of people who have relevant experience or are prepared to learn as they go?
  2. Has the team spent enough time directly with prospective customers to develop a deep understanding of them?
  3. In considering novel ways to serve customers, did the team review developments in other industries and countries?
  4. Can the team clearly define the first customer and a path to reaching others?
  5. Is the idea’s proposed business model described in detail?
  6. Does the team have a believable hypothesis about how the offering will make money?
  7. Have team members identified all the things that must be true for this hypothesis to work?
  8. Does the team have a plan for testing all those uncertainties, which tackles the most crucial ones first?
  9. Are fixed costs low enough to facilitate course correction?
  10. Has the team demonstrated a bias toward action by rapidly prototyping the idea?

I believe these questions are very useful for teams because they cover the process of turning an idea into something useful for the customer. Checking off all these questions doesn’t mean you have a winning idea, rather that you’re doing due dilligence on determining the value of an idea in an intelligent way.

Also published on Medium.