You’ve developed a great idea. You’ve tested its desirability and concluded that there is a genuine market need. However, without testing its feasibility – whether you have the time, skills, resources and budget to actually make it happen – you may find yourself stuck at the idea stage.
Measuring feasibility is a vital part of the innovation process, and involves determining whether:
- Your team has the right skills, technologies and resources to make it happen
- You have enough budget available to cover any monetary costs
- You have access to all of the required materials
- You have established whether there are any laws, standards or regulations impacting entry-to-market
Fail to establish feasibility and you risk wasting time, money and resources on something that will never get off the ground. With that in mind, here are five ways to validate feasibility: the second of our four-part series delving into product risks and how to avoid them.
1. Technical feasibility
The first thing to determine is how technically feasible your idea is. Depending on the product, service or feature you’re proposing, this could involve you talking to development, engineering, IT, manufacturing or other teams for their feedback.
By pitching your idea to them, both you and they will be able to gain a better understanding of the skillsets, technologies and resources that are required. They’ll also be able to let you know whether your idea is feasible as things currently stand.
2. Access to resources
Do your internal teams have access to the resources that they need to bring your idea to life?
“Resources” can mean many things. It can mean the in-house expertise to carry the project through from start to finish: the people needed to plan and build the idea, as well as the people to market and sell it. It can mean the materials and technologies that are required. It can mean the channels that you have available through which to promote and sell the idea.
It also applies to any third parties and key partners: specialists you may hire as consultants, or external firms or individuals you may use to build rather than doing it in-house. Of course, using third parties could increase project risk further by adding the complexity of supply chain risks on top of your internal risks.
3. Financial feasibility
If your idea has cost implications, it needs to be fully costed before proceeding. What costs are involved in every stage of the process, including materials, new technologies, external resources, advertising costs and more?
Speak with your finance team about the cost implications. They’ll help you to establish whether there is budget available, and where this budget will come from. They may also be able to help you to reduce the overall project costs.
4. Legal feasibility
If you’ve spent time, money and resources on developing your idea, the last thing you want is to be foiled by rules and regulations that prevent you from bringing it to market. Whether you have an in-house legal team or use an external law firm, running your idea past them in detail will allow them to establish whether there are any laws, standards or regulations that could prove prohibitive. Is there something about the idea that is patentable to protect you from current and future competitors? Also, you’ll need to consider both how your idea is produced and how you plan on marketing and selling it.
If you plan on operating in overseas markets, you’ll also need to check international standards and regulations to ensure that you are fully compliant.
5. Timeline feasibility
Without putting project timeframes in place it’s unlikely that your project will succeed: there will always be other priorities. Any timeframes, though, must be realistic and achievable, without impacting on business as usual.
Your resourcing or project management team will be able to help here. After looking through the project brief, they’ll help you to establish whether your specified timeframes are achievable and can help you to come up with an alternative plan if not.