How does Blueprinting fit with a stage-and-gate process?
  2. Blueprinting Center & Methodology
  3. How does Blueprinting fit with a stage-and-gate process?

1. Stage-gate benefits & limitations

A stage-gate process can be helpful... but it is not enough by itself.

The Stage-Gate® process was developed decades ago by Bob Cooper and is a registered trademark of Stage-Gate International. It’s now used by most B2B companies to manage their new product innovation. It’s like a Swiss Army knife that helps you do many things…

  • Inform management
  • Avoid missed steps
  • Limit risk and liabilities
  • Provide accountability
  • Plan needed resources
  • Support portfolio views

But like any tool, … you can’t use it for everything. Expecting otherwise will only lead to disappointing results. So what does your stage-gate process do well… and where does it need help?

A stage-gate process manages the interface between the company and the project team. It helps reduce mistakes, but by itself, can foster…

  • analytical thinking
  • a checklist mentality
  • internal focus

If you doubt the last point—internal focus—try this at your next gate review: Ask team members how many hours they spent talking to internal colleagues … and how many to customers. For the vast majority of B2B companies, the quantity and quality of customer insight is nowhere near as high as it should be. And this is the primary reason for lackluster new product development.

For more on this topic, see the AIM article, Innovation in Industrial Markets: Stage-Gate is not enough. Also check out the 2-minute video, Invigorate your stage-and-gate process, part of the B2B Organic Growth video series by Dan Adams.


Keywords: stage-gate, NPD process, analytical thinking, customer insight