Go or No Go: Making the critical idea decision

By: Saadia Muzaffar

Taking a great idea through an objective evaluation is a critical step in the innovation process. It could be an idea for a new product, or for a company like Xerox, ideas for new materials. For Sheridan engineering students recently, it was a Formula One racing car. Once your idea is technically assessed, how do you generate enough information on critical parameters to make an informed and unbiased decision to put the idea “on the road”— go or no go?

Almost 40 advanced manufacturers gathered for Innovate Forward’s 3rd session on March 22 to hear leading experts in idea evaluation. Xerox, regarded as one of the top innovators in the world, has 35 years of experience taking materials from the lab to the market. Dr. Paul Smith, Vice President, Xerox Innovation Group, described how idea evaluation is applied at Xerox and presented the critical steps of Capture, Assessment, Evaluation, and Decision. RIC Entrepreneur-in Residence, Tim Scott, talked about The Stage Gate Process for moving new products from idea to launch and beyond. Chief Innovation Officer at the Canadian Innovation Centre, Andrew Maxwell, provided a framework for assessing new opportunities, an innovation roadmap, and detailed assessment tools.

“Having companies like Xerox come in and talk about their innovation program was extremely beneficial,” commented attendee, Dan Fournier of Nu-Tech Roll Forming Inc., “It gives us a good starting point for how to evaluate and advance ideas”

The event included a demo from Janet Bedard at Sheridan College as well as a presentation about the racing car built by Sheridan’s engineering students. The formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) car will be the first entry by an Ontario Community College to compete against university teams across North America.

Last week’s Innovate>Forward session is the third of six being held at the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies, Sheridan College, Brampton. Each session is targeted towards entrepreneurs developing innovative technologies in the advanced manufacturing sector, with the intention of fostering ideas, sharing successes and failures and gaining mentoring support.

Saadia joins the RIC team as the Operations Coordinator responsible for building and execution of activities that fulfill RIC’s mandate. She brings several years of relationship management, corporate communications and operations experience mainly from the financial services industry.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit Altitude Accelerator for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.


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