Creating, managing and selecting a pipeline of new service initiatives

Organizing4Innovation helps professional service organizations create, manage and select a pipeline of new service initiatives. Initiating a new service development program sets expectations and we want to make sure you will be successful. In this blog, we describe a series of steps that will help you to successfully create, manage, and select a pipeline of new service initiatives.

We recommend following the steps when implementing a new service development pipeline in your organization.

Step 1: Define whether the O4I approach is right for your organization

Please consider the following questions:

  • Does your organization provide services?
  • Are you looking for ways to deliver higher value services than what you offer today?
  • Is the state-of-the art knowledge about the services you provide with your key service providers?
  • Are your key service providers busy and focused on service delivery? That is, they spent most of their time and effort on today’s problems, instead of future opportunities.
  • Are you looking for ways to utilize the fresh insights and energy of your young talent?
  • Is there an opportunity to better coordinate new service development initiatives across the organization?
  • Are you looking for ways to (better) oversee and manage the new service initiatives that are ongoing in your organization?
  • Are you looking for ways to optimize your portfolio of new service development activities?

If you answered yes, to any of the questions above, the O4I approach is a perfect fit for your organization

Step 2: Define the strategic objective you would like to achieve with your pipeline

As for anything new, it pays off to define short term and long term goals. The long term goals help to formulate why you are undertaking this endeavor. The short term goals will help to stay motivated and foster support for the endeavor, which is needed to achieve the long term goals.

The long-term goals are clear. Creating, managing and optimizing a pipeline of new service development activities that enable the organization to act upon strategic opportunities and secure the future success of the organization.

What is the short term goal you would like to achieve? Is there a specific strategic goal you can tie to the implementation of the new service development pipeline? For example, facilitate the transition to industry groups. In which case the pipeline can help teams define novel service opportunities in each of the focus industries. Such a call to action creates a clear target, lifts on another existing initiative of the organization, and gets you some nice buzz to get started.

Aligning the goals with an ongoing strategic initiative is important, as it ensures there will be organizational support for the participating teams that are successful.

Thus, for step 2, define the short-term strategic objective you plan to achieve with the process in place. What key performance indicators are used to evaluate the teams? When should the teams be finished with their proposals?

Step 3 Get the first 1-3 teams to follow the process

When you implement your new service development process, start simple. We suggest that you start with just a few teams first.

Basically, we are suggesting to practice what you preach. Experiment. Gain experience from the first teams, and then optimize the process to your specific needs, if that turns out to be necessary.

Step 4: Organize a kick-off meeting for each team

Few professionals are used to challenge their own opinions or explicate the assumptions they are making about their clients and their client’s needs. Hence, there is a learning curve when embarking on a new service development journey.

To ease teams into the project and set the proper expectations, we therefore strongly recommend organizing a short (online) kick-off meeting with each team. Organizing for Innovation gladly assist you in setting up such a meeting.

Step 5: Evaluate the progress 30 days later

After the first 30 days, the teams will have a good feel for how the process is helping them develop their ideas effectively and efficiently.

Ask for their input about. How useful was the kick-off meeting. Is there room for improvement? What additional information or support should the next teams get, when they start?


Step 6: Evaluate your pipeline at the completion of the first teams

After 9 to 16 weeks, your teams will have completed the first phase(s). That is, they have achieved their first milestones and created their first deliverables.

Completion means they have decided their project is go or a no-go. In case of a no-go, the team learned how not to go about the problem. In our experience, the majority of your teams will conclude their project is a no-go. It often takes multiple attempts to define the right angle to tackle the problem.

In case of a go, the team deliverables are their proposal, the testable concept, and an outline of how they plan to achieve the next milestone.

The completion by the teams is thus another great moment to evaluate how the process enables your organization to effectively and efficiently act upon novel opportunities. For the latter evaluation, we suggest you involve senior management. Their buy-in will help you to anchor the process in the organization and obtain the necessary support in terms of hours and resources. Such support for the participating individuals and teams is essential to ensure future teams will also be successful in their endeavors.

Questions to ask:

  • What went well? Where is room for improvement
  • How to recognize the efforts of these and future participants (both of the go and no-go teams!)?
  • Do we need to tailor any of the educational content?
  • Do we need to tailor any of the exercises?
  • How to integrate participating in a new business development effort with participants’ personal development goals and objectives?
  • How many teams can we support as an organization at the same time?
  • Which and how many strategic goals to tackle next?

Organizing for Innovation gladly assists you in the process above. Please feel free to reach out to us to learn more how we can help your organization get ready to tackle any challenge or opportunity the future may bring.