What's The Real Problem? "Wants" Aren't "Needs"

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 06:30
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Successful decision making is linked to discerning the differences between what is desired (wanted) and what is required (needed). That applies to innovation, too.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

What's The Real Problem? "Wants" Aren't "Needs"

In corporate innovation, "Wants" are technologies that a company would ideally like to have. In contrast,"Needs" are truly essential technologies required to advance key initiatives. In my humble opinion, in the best interest of all of the parties involved, and in order to make best use of limited corporate resources, companies should probably just do away with publicly publishing their technology "Needs" lists to prospective technology providers. Why? Because the "Needs" that are published are much more likely to be "Wants"...which are managed very differently.

When companies publish a "Needs" lists to prospective technology providers on a corporate open innovation website, these are most likely to actually be Wants. While they are desired and of interest to some internal customers, they aren't essential to business growth. As such, submissions which aim to address them are most likely not going to be subject to intense or prioritized assessment and decision making. If the submission isn't axed within 4-8 weeks (as the vast majority are), they will invariably creep through the assessment process, and still likely get rejected for whatever reasons after months or more have elapsed. So why put 96+% of would-be submitters through what is invariably not a "feel good" experience?

In contrast, true Needs are likely to be confidential in nature and assigned to retained technology scouts and qualified and valued supplier partners. Progress made in satisfying these Needs will be actively followed and managed by dedicated project leaders with accountabilities and time deadlines. Even a Need may take well over a year or more to make it through assessment to commercalization stage.

So again...I assert: companies shouldn't encourage would-be technology submitters to go through the Wants exercise unless they can make it a more worthwhile and productive experience for all parties involved.

What do you think?

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