We all like having choices in life. But sometimes choices come with dilemmas.
And this was the case in a client board meeting I recently attended at a fast growing technology company. One of the directors wanted to talk about an opportunity to introduce a brand new product based on some intellectual property the company had helped to develop.
Sounded like a great idea, but things are never so straightforward of course. It would mean making an initial payment for the intellectual property, there would be more research and development work needed, the need to hire a team to develop and market the product and the matter of royalties which would be payable on any future sales.
And this came on top of other initiatives that the company was already pursuing, the need to find ways of funding those things too and resource constraints which are so common for growing businesses.
They needed some structure to make the most of the valuable board meeting time available. This is where we come in, as we see this sort of story with so many businesses we deal with. And because we are not involved in the business every day, we can take a slightly more objective view on things.
We mapped out the key things the project would give to the business, and the top things we would need to make it a success. We prioritised both lists and did the same for the other initiatives that were running so that we could compare. It’s amazing how often the answer becomes obvious when applying some structure and logic to the problem at hand.
So what did they decide?
In this case, the answer was a “no go” for this new project; well, not yet at least. Undertaking a new product development programme at this stage presented a very real risk to some of the other initiatives already underway. But this is very much a case of “maybe not for now” as the plan can now easily be revisited once the decks are clearer in the future.