How do I manage an Innovation Pipeline?

Three Horizons Innovation Pipeline strategy template

There are a variety of approaches to managing innovation pipelines. Here are some tips, information and templates.

How do I manage an Innovation Pipeline?

We recommend representing and managing concepts in your pipeline using the Three Horizon model:-
Horizon 1: These are the new projects and concepts that are close to your core business, and that you are close to launching – e.g. in the next few weeks / months.
Horizon 2: These are the projects and concepts that are departures from your normal business that you are launching in the mid-term – e.g. in the next few months / quarters.
Horizon 3: These are the new projects and concepts that are large changes from your core business that require significant new capabilities and are long term innovations – e.g. in 1-3 years.
In your innovation pipeline, you will be bringing new Horizon 1, 2 and 3 ideas into the fold constantly, then testing them, discarding the unfeasible ones, and developing the promising ones as appropriate.

Where did the Three Horizons Model come from?

McKinsey created the Three Horizons model to explain how businesses must invest in current products (1st Horizon), incremental innovations (2nd Horizon), and breakthrough innovations (3rd Horizon).

Is there a good Three Horizons Innovation Template?

Yes – we have one here and also a more fully featured Three Horizons Innovation Pipeline Template on our companion marketplace Spitmarket.

How Does the Three Horizons Framework work?

A good innovation programme invests in regular and open innovation activities (e.g. the FROST Innovation Framework). Sometimes this is managed using an R&D team, and other times all teams spend a percentage of their time on innovation. There are also mixtures of both models.
In all scenarios, there are a stream of new concepts being discussed and prototyped at any one time.

Invest in open innovation with your staff!

A good innovation programme invests in regular and open innovation activities (e.g. the FROST Innovation Framework). Sometimes this is managed using an R&D team, and other times all teams spend a percentage of their time on innovation. There are also mixtures of both models.

In all scenarios, there are a stream of new concepts being discussed and prototyped at any one time.

Track your innovations in three categories – your “Horizons”

  1. Horizon 1:
    1. Innovations close to your current business.
    2. They are close to launching – e.g. in the next few weeks / months.
  2. Horizon 2:
    1. Innovations that are departures from your normal business.
    2. Launching in the mid-term – e.g. in the next few months / quarters.
  3. Horizon 3:
    1. Innovations that are large changes from your core business.
    2. Require significant new capabilities.
    3. Launching in the long term – e.g. in 1-3 years.

Concepts and Projects move through the Three Horizons.

Promising, feasible projects that start as “Horizon 3” ideas (long term), develop into “Horizon 2” as time progresses.

Concepts that do not test well, or that do not show good results as prototypes, are discarded – i.e. not all ideas will progress from Horizon 3 to 2, and from 2 to 1. In fact, most ideas should not!

Three Horizons Innovation Pipeline strategy template
Structuring your Innovation Pipeline, using the Three Horizons Innovation Pipeline strategy template

Concepts and Projects start as being less important / visible, and rise in importance

Naturally, projects and concepts that start as “Horizon 3” are intrinsically less visible within an organisation – they are not yet “important”!

Are you short on time?

Use these templates to help with this Best Practice:

Innovation Pipeline Structure: The Three Horizons Template

This Three Horizons Framework Template provides a simple flow for your Innovation Pipeline. Essential for all innovators and business leaders.

See: Innovation Pipeline Structure: The Three Horizons Template

Business Topics that support this Best Practice

Using Hack Events and Hackathons for Innovation

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See: Hackathon Rollout Guide – Getting Ready: Generate Excitement and Avoid Mistakes (PPT & Keynote)

Hackathon Task Checklist and Status Dashboard (Excel)

Keep track of your Hackathon Event tasks: This Hackathon Task Checklist is based on years of experience, and makes event rollout simple.

See: Hackathon Task Checklist and Status Dashboard (Excel)

Hackathon Budget Sheet Excel Template

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See: Hackathon Budget Sheet Excel Template

2 Day Hackathon Guide – Simple Step by Step – plus the mistakes to avoid

Running a 2-Day Hackathon – Use our Simple Steps and avoid common issues. Keep the event moving, and your participants happy!

See: 2 Day Hackathon Guide – Simple Step by Step – plus the mistakes to avoid
See all Using Hack Events and Hackathons for Innovation

Strategic Analysis

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See: Strategy On One Page – Powerpoint Template
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Leadership and Strategic Guidance

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See: 3Cs and 4Ps PowerPoint Marketing Cheat Sheets – plus 7Ps, 4Cs and 7Cs

Strategic Planning Tools – Discount Bundle

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All Business Best Practice

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Created : 2020-08-25 17:22:15
Modified : 2020-08-25 17:25:06