When John Hodgson, Director of Innovation Pipeline Management at Coca-Cola explained his company’s three basic criteria in managing his portfolio, I realized that this was a great question to pose to the group. As chairman of the Front End of Innovation Conference Portfolio Optimization Summit, part of my role was to help people connect the dots.
The three basic criteria for Coca-Cola are:
Aligned — does your portfolio have projects that move the company in the necessary direction?
Sufficient — is their enough investment to deliver on the goals?
Balanced — does the portfolio respond to the company’s span of needs? For example, projects that will deliver in different time frames (Coke has a fairly operational portfolio that targets 70% in 0-12 months, 20% in 12-24 months and 10% in 24+ months).
So I asked the audience of about 40 innovation and portoflio executives in companies ranging from Boeing to Kimberly-Clark to Air Products to Experian, which of these three areas most needed improvement in their portfolios. The answers were remarkably split, with almost exactly a third needing improvement in each area. I think Coca-Cola is on to something, since companies clearly struggle across these criteria.
What is your most needed area for improvement? I’ve set up a quick poll:
Here are the live results: