Assessing Risk for New Products & Projects – the Futility of 100% Risk

Categories: Innovation Insights

When it comes to measuring the viability of new concepts, it is standard practice to use risk as a criteria. Risk can be technical, commercial, organizational, risk of competition, etc.


Unfortunately this variable is entirely illogical when working on breakthrough or disruptive concepts. The more concepts are new to the world or new to the industry, the more risky they become, to the extent that the level of risk effectively maxes out. This is particularly relevant when comparing such concepts to incremental ideas with known profiles. A new flavor jam might be a 4 / 10 risk, as customers might not appreciate the flavor. Jam in a tube is a 10 / 10 risk, because jam does not exist in tubes.

The controversial view, therefore, is whether it even makes sense to use risk as a criteria for likely breakthroughs. It is more honest, and ultimately more useful, to invest time and brainpower uncovering and mitigating risks, and saving the risk criteria for the daily grind product development projects.

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One Response to “Assessing Risk for New Products & Projects – the Futility of 100% Risk”

  1. Rather than see things as risk would it not be better to completely invert the relationship or semantic of risk. Therefore, if it doesn’t have ‘risk’ to begin with your not entering the ‘right’ territory. Then once there you have to mitigate…

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