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Abstract: WinOvations 3,000 Raw Ideas = 1 Commercial Success


3,000 Raw Ideas = 1 Commercial Success!
By: Greg A. Stevens and James Burley Ph.D.

OVERVIEW: Improvements in the standard of living require improvements on productivity, which in turn require successful innovations. Hence, improvements to productivity in the standard of living depend, to a remarkable degree, on the success of industrial innovations. Because the odds of any one idea becoming an econimc success are very low, many ideas are needed to lead to economic success and improved standards of living. Success curves for industrial innovation are developed in this paper from three major sources, including:

  1. The product literature
  2. Patent literature and experience
  3. Venture capitalist's experience

We found remarkably similar results from all three sources of information. Understanding success curves is important for industrial innovation for a least three reasons:

  1. To set expectations of those involved in the process
  2. To benchmark one's own process against others in the industry
  3. To calculate future expected benefits from current innovation spending as a function of the stage of the new product developmet (NPD) process and the typical success rates found for each stage.

Note: The reference for this article is as follows:

Greg Stevens and James Burley, 3,00 Raw Ideas = 1 Commercial Success, Research Technology Management, 40(3), May-June 1997, 16-27.

A key figure showing the overall success curve as a function of the different satges of new product development follows. Note that the succee rates shown on this curve have not changed substantially in the last 40 years.

Figure 1. "Universal" Industrial Success Curve for Substantially New Products

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