Insights & Strategy
September 27, 2022

Innovation portfolio - What is it and how to manage it?

An innovation portfolio collects an organization's current and future products, services, and processes. It is managed to maximize the value of the portfolio to the organization. In this article, we'll discuss what an innovation portfolio is, how it's different from a traditional portfolio, and tips on how to manage it effectively.

Roald Larsen

What is an innovation portfolio?

An innovation portfolio is a collection of innovative products, services, or processes a company has developed. It can also include new ideas in the early stages of development. The purpose of an innovation portfolio is to help a company keep track of its progress in innovation and to make sure that it is investing in a diverse range of new ideas.

An innovation portfolio should be managed in a way that allows a company to track its progress and ensure it is progressing towards its goals. It is important to set aside time regularly to review the portfolio and assess which projects are making the most progress. It is also important to invest in a range of different types of innovation so that the portfolio is well-rounded.

Investing in an innovation portfolio can help a company to stay ahead of the competition and to maintain a strong position in the market. Managing the portfolio correctly is essential to ensure it delivers the desired results.

The four key benefits of having an innovation portfolio

There are several benefits of having an innovation portfolio.

1. Identify areas where they need to improve their innovation process. 

2. Helps companies to track their progress over time and see how their innovation process is improving. 

3. Enable companies to allocate resources more efficiently by prioritizing areas of the business that need more attention. 

4. Allows companies to communicate their innovation strategy to stakeholders more effectively.

Tips on how to manage an innovation portfolio

An innovation portfolio is a collection of projects an organization is working on designed to create new value. It includes both current initiatives and those that are in development.

Track and identify new initiatives

The purpose of an innovation portfolio is to help organizations focus their resources on the initiatives that are most likely to succeed. By identifying and tracking these projects, organizations can make better decisions about allocating their resources.

Adopt a Stage-gate approach

There are a few different ways to manage an innovation portfolio. One common approach is to use a stage-gate process, which involves dividing projects into different stages (idea, development, commercialization) and gates (approval points).

Use a Management tool

Another approach is to use a portfolio management software tool, which can help organizations track and manage their portfolios more effectively.

Review & update periodically

 Whatever approach you use, it's important to regularly review your innovation portfolio and make sure that it's aligned with your organizational goals.

4 Steps on how to manage your innovation portfolio

There are a few key things to keep in mind when managing your innovation portfolio.

1. First, it is important to prioritize your projects. Not all projects are created equal, and some will be more important to your business goals than others. It is important to identify which projects are the most important and focus your resources on those.

2. Second, you need to have a good process in place for evaluating and selecting projects. This process should be based on clear criteria that are aligned with your business goals. Without a good selection process, you risk selecting projects that are not worth pursuing.

3. Third, you need to allocate resources wisely. Projects that are riskier or have higher potential rewards should get more resources than less risky projects. You also need to ensure that you have the right mix of people working on each project. The wrong mix of people can lead to problems down the road.

4. Fourth, you need to monitor progress and adjust the course as needed. Projects change over time, and it is important to keep track of how they are progressing. If a project is not on track, you may need to make changes to ensure that it stays on track.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your innovation portfolio is well managed and that you are getting the most out of your investment.

What are the common mistakes when it comes to innovation portfolios?

There are several common mistakes that companies make when it comes to managing their innovation portfolios.

One of the most common mistakes is failing to align the portfolio with the company’s strategy. The innovation portfolio should be aligned with the company’s overall business strategy in order to be effective.

Another common mistake is failing to prioritize the projects in the portfolio properly. This can lead to wasted resources on projects that are not the most important or impactful.

Another mistake that companies make is not adequately tracking and measuring the progress of projects in the innovation portfolio. This makes it difficult to identify which projects are succeeding and which ones are falling behind.

Finally, some companies fail to review and revise their innovation portfolios on a regular basis. This can lead to outdated portfolios that no longer reflect the company’s current needs and priorities.

By avoiding these common mistakes, companies can set themselves up for success with their innovation portfolios.

How often should you review your innovation portfolio?

The frequency of review for an innovation portfolio should be based on the organization's strategic planning process. For many organizations, this means reviewing the innovation portfolio annually as part of the budgeting process. However, some organizations may review their innovation portfolios more frequently, such as every quarter or every six months.

Reviewing the innovation portfolio ensures that the organization is still pursuing the right mix of projects and that the projects align with the organization's strategy. This review should also assess whether any changes need to be made to the portfolio in order to achieve the organization's goals.

Organizations should also consider how they will measure the success of their innovation projects. This will help to inform future reviews of the innovation portfolio and ensure that the organization is making progress towards its goals.


An innovation portfolio is a great way to manage your innovation process and ensure that you always work on the most promising projects. By following these seven tips, you can be sure that your innovation portfolio is always up-to-date and aligned with your company's strategy.

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