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Ideation for Product Innovation: What are the Best Methods?

Robert G. Cooper and Scott J. Edgett

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The aggressive revenue growth goals of most firms point to the need for a deliberate, systemic, and managed approach to generating game-changing new product ideas. The first place to begin crafting an effective ideation system is by identifying potential sources of ideas: Where do the good ideas come from? And more important, where should they be coming from and which valuable sources are you missing? Favorite idea sources may be evident in your company, but there is a lack of substantial research to reveal the most effective idea sources. Our study looked at 18 different sources of new product ideas in business. We sought to determine how extensively each method is used (its popularity), and to gauge management’s perception of the effectiveness of the method in generating excellent, high-value new product ideas.