What are the three things which every idea needs to be successful?

At Deloitte, we have found that in order for an idea to succeed, it needs to possess three key attributes.

Together, these three criteria form what we call the Balanced Breakthrough model

The Balanced Breakthrough Model

balanced breakthrough model

the balanced breakthrough model

In order for an idea to become a successful innovation, it needs to validate the following three characteristics:

  • Desirability: Is there demand for this idea? Is there actually a problem which people would benefit from if it were solved, rather than just a solution looking for a problem?
  • Feasibility: Can we do it? Is it possible for the company to actually accomplish this challenge?
  • Viability: Is it worth it? Will the company derive long-term benefit from the solution?

Only if an idea or potential innovation can say “Yes” to all three questions is it going to have any chance of becoming a success.

If any of the criteria are missing, then the innovation program is likely to fail.

Therefore, the Balanced Breakthrough Model is an excellent tool for prioritizing ideas and projects in an innovation portfolio pipeline.

The challenge most companies face is how to validate each of these ideas.

After all, how can you test the viability of an idea before it has even been developed?

The answer is that you do not need to prove what the exact solution should look like, or how to make it. You just need to validate whether there is the basis of value for the idea to be taken a step further in development.

So for example, at the beginning stages of an innovation project, not that much will be known about what the final solution looks like, but you can still validate certain underlying assumptions:

  • Desirability
    • Do we know specific individuals who have an actual challenge?
    • Is there currently a competing solution in the market?
    • What is preventing target customers from using current solutions?
  • Feasibility
    • Do we have the staff/capabilities to develop a technical solution in-house?
    • If not, could we hire someone / outsource the work?
    • Does the current challenge rely on completely new technology to be developed?
  • Viability
    • Is the potential market large enough to be attractive?
    • Does the challenge fit with our current business?
    • Does the challenge fit with our innovation strategy?

The amount of detail required at any stage should be appropriate for how far along in the development stage the innovation should be at that point, and how much investment is required to validate it further.

As an idea is developed further into an innovation, more and more data will become available through rapid experimentation which either validates or invalidates the premise of the idea.

We use several frameworks to validate ideas along an innovation development pipeline process, which puts rigor against each of these three criteria instead of relying on people’s opinions.

So before investing in your next breakthrough idea, make sure it can pass the Balanced Breakthrough Model criteria.

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Chief Editor of Ideatovalue.com and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as the world's #5 Innovation blogger in 2016, I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love.