Using the Innovation Funnel

The Innovation Funnel – Is it in Your Business’ Toolbox?


Growing a business successfully means continually moving your brand forwards. Whether this is done by refining and updating existing products, or continually bringing fresh new offerings to market, your business’ future prosperity depends on evolution and innovation.

However, any business growth strategy needs to be implemented in a way that safeguards your competitive advantage

Innovation Funnel

What is the Innovation Funnel?


This powerful and effective tool is used to develop an idea from concept to reality, whilst screening it for viability at each step of the way.

The Innovation Funnel is crucial for any growing business which is developing or expanding its offering.

Here’s how it works.


The Mouth of the Funnel

This step focuses on the generation of ideas. At this stage, it’s imperative that you do your research and gather information from all of your sources. Evaluate the market, study your competitors and talk to your customers!

With your business objectives in mind, the aim is to collect as many ideas as possible. These ideas should come from a variety of individuals within the organisation, as well as external partners and customers.


Narrowing the Funnel

After generating multiple different ideas, the screening and harvesting of them now takes place. This step varies from business to business owing to the fact that the criteria must be tailored to your objectives.

Have a time schedule in place and be sure to consider feasibility. This requires you to have a good understanding of the capabilities of your business; it also makes it easier for you to draw up a list of adjustable criteria depending on the type of idea or proposal.


Examples of criteria include:

  • Is there a market for the idea?

  • To what extent does the idea meet the customer’s ideas and wishes?

  • To what extent is the idea risky?


If an idea doesn’t meet all of your criteria, how can it be developed to fit?

Testing the product or service with real customers will help to answer some of these questions.

An assessment of returns and risks must subsequently be carried out to determine which ideas will pass through this stage. Resources are scarce and must therefore be allocated to the ideas with the most promising potential for return.


Honing and Testing

Only a handful of ideas are likely to make it through to this stage; these must promise to deliver on brand values and current company objectives.

The reviews from the product testing are expected at this stage and refinements or adjustments may be necessary. In this case, subsequent testing might be beneficial.

The process culminates in an opportunity to implement your strongest idea. If it is pitched successfully, the funnel has resulted in a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and is ready to be launched on the market.


In Conclusion


The innovation funnel is a simple, yet highly effective tool that ultimately minimises the opportunity for companies to develop products that will not work from a commercial point of view.

However, it’s important to remember that the framework isn’t limited to generating new innovations or processes; ongoing projects must also be screened continually by means of the previously established criteria to ensure that they function optimally.