Innovation is the process of coming up with something new and introducing it into practice. In organizations innovation efforts can be directed at novel products, services, or value propositions, but also at new procedures, processes, or ways of working. More ambitiously, even the business model or the organizational design can be reworked.
Innovation is not a brief event, but a longer process, typically consisting of a number of stages. It is also seldom the work of just one person, but usually involves a variety of stakeholders. Given the multiple steps and people required, it is important to map out and effectively structure the innovation process.
The 5I Innovation Pipeline framework outlines the five generic stages that need to be organized to successfully innovate as organization. The framework suggests that numerous innovation ideas are generally needed at the start of the process to eventually finish with just one or a few launchable innovative ventures (be it a new product, process or even business). As such, the process can be pictured as a narrowing pipeline, through which the potential innovations need to flow, with various initiatives at various stages of development. Separating the sequential steps are stage gates at which the viability to move to the next step is measured and no-gos are filtered out. Lubricating the pipeline flow are supporting learning and political processes.
The five stages of the innovation pipeline are the following:
Note that the main innovation pipeline activities are flanked by two crucial facilitating activities: