Gate 1: Idea screening
Initial screening is the first decision to commit resources to the idea and to decide whether a NPD project starts or not. This gate is a 'gentle' screening of certain 'must meet' and 'need to/should meet' criteria. These are:
Must meet criteria: corporate policy, strategic fit, magnitude of market opportunity, product advantage, project feasibility, availability of resources, regulations, impact on corporate image.
Need to/should meet criteria: synergy (with product portfolio, production lines and capacity etc.), market attractiveness, competitive advantage, organizational and operational issues.
Make a check list or use a scoring model to evaluate the criteria. An example is provided in the following document:
The challenge at this gate is to identify and decide on the 'right' ideas for further exploration. Your task is to strike a balance between what is desirable (especially from a consumer point of view) and what is feasible both in technical and market terms. It is a good strategy also to keep a balanced portfolio of NPD projects in the pipeline with varying degrees of risk (low, medium and high) and rewards (short-, medium- and long-term).
As precise information about market responses and technical requirements is not available at this stage you also need to rely on your intuition or gut feeling. Please keep in mind the two potential risks in screening:
- Dropping ideas too early means missed opportunities.
- Developing the 'wrong' ideas means wasted resources, in terms of time and financial investment, and may put the activities in your current portfolio at risk.