There are two possible decision making risks that corporate gate keepers face in assessing new opportunities:
(1) screening-in a new opportunity that should be rejected, and
(2) screening-out a new opportunity that should be included.
The first risk is a relatively minor one, as the discipline associated with a stage gate process should catch bad actors. Therefore, the real risk lies in prematurely taking a pass on a potentially strong opportunity. Not every new idea is worthy of adoption. On the other hand, I believe that some candidates deserve greater consideration than I fear that they sometimes receive. It is of course, a lot easier and less risky to say "no" to a new opportunity than to say "yes". This causes me to wonder whether some gatekeepers (whether they be in R&D or Marketing or both) decide to reject potentially attractive new opportunities for want of sufficient clarifying information. How to inform decision making? Some of my R&D clients have me design and field simple, inexpensive, and quick on-line (e.g. Survey Monkey) customer research. These exploratory studies enable clients to get an early read on whether a new opportunity "moves the needle" with consumers, to help them decide whether or not to bring it forward to their business team counterparts. I'm not suggesting that experienced business professionals should not apply or trust their judgment in assessing new opportunities. I'm simply proposing that sometimes, it can be helpful to generate quantitative consumer data to help inform their decision making. What do you think?