Technique 12

Project Charter

Keep your innovation team focused and on track.


The Project charter keeps your innovation team focused and on track, and it ensures that you manage the risks associated with innovation closely, carefully, and effectively. You wouldn't start a business without a well-thought-out and carefully designed plan. And you shouldn't take on something as risky as innovation without clearly documenting your objectives, your key assumptions, the projected return on investment, and many other data points that ensure your team and other stakeholders remain on the same page.

Regardless of the degree of innovation you're hoping to accomplish, you should always make time for a project charter. It's important to note that the project charter is not a static document you finalize early on, but rather a dynamic technique that should be revisited, refined, and updated throughout the life of the project.

Project Charter and Innovation Financial Management (Technique 13) are two of the most important techniques in this book. After all, you can generate thousands of clever ideas, but if no one needs or wants what you have to offer then your time and money is wasted. Therefore, don't overlook the value of spending time up front, and throughout the project, continually verifying that your innovation is marketable, feasible, and able to bring your organization a profit.


Scenario: Pikes Peak Coffee owns 32 coffee shops in three Western states. For the past three quarters, ...

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