<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=1007900&amp;fmt=gif">
en | de

LEAD Innovation Blog

Read our latest articles on innovation management and innovation in a wide range of industries.

Date: 04-Apr-2019
Posted by: Tanja ESCHBERGER

How to prioritize search fields

Search fields are the result of strategic considerations and set the direction in which promising ideas for innovations are sought. The prioritization of possible search fields is essential in order to identify the most relevant options and to act successfully in the long term.


Prioritization within the scope of search field analysis

Search fields should, in principle, be defined precisely enough that they enable a concrete orientation for the idea generation, but on the other hand should also be broad enough to stimulate the search for novel, creative approaches to solutions. The derivation and selection of relevant search fields in innovation management takes place in several steps:

  1. Derive search fields from the innovation strategy, the past (innovation family tree and flop family tree) and the future (trend timeline)
  2. Cluster topics
  3. Formulate search field title
  4. Prioritize search fields
  5. Select search fields

Separate innovation workshops are then to be held for each of the finally selected innovation search fields in order to find concrete ideas.

Product Folder LEAD Roadmap


Prioritizing search fields with the project portfolio matrix

The project portfolio matrix forms the basis for prioritizing search fields. Here, an initial prioritization can take place with regard to probability of success, feasibility, and yield potential:

  • Probability of Success (practicability):How much resource is needed to develop this search field? How difficult is it to solve this search field? Are the necessary competencies available in the company? Do you have to buy additional competencies? Do you need a partner?
  • Net Present Value given Success (yield potential):What yield is to be expected if the search field is successfully developed?

The positioning of the search fields, within the four quadrants of the portfolio, results from the evaluation of various factors, e.g.:

  • Exploitable know-how potential
  • Management competency with the new business segment
  • Opportunities to acquire missing know-how
  • Growth potential
  • Positive and negative effects on existing business
  • Market entry costs
  • Competitive situation and expected reactions of the competition

Quadranten matrix

Quelle: D. Matheson, H.E. Matheson, 1998


  • Pearl (Market potential - high, feasibility - high):The "pearls of the matrix" give the expectation of high profits and are easy to implement with the existing competencies.
  • Oyster (Market potential - high, feasibility - low): In order to exploit the high market potential of projects in this area, the company must purchase the necessary skills or acquire them through appropriate partners.
  • Bread & Butter (Market potential - low, feasibility - high):The core competencies are available in the company, but the market potential is smaller, since, for example, one already has a large market share in this area. Product improvements are mainly found in this area.
  • White Elefant (Market potential - low, feasibility - low):Prestige projects that focus on the advertising effect are to be classified in this area. The company would like to show, for example, that it is concerned with the topic of sustainability, although the earnings prospects are low, and the competencies have to be purchased externally.

Priority list: Ranking of possible projects

The result of the matrix is a prioritization of the search fields, which serves as a basis for decision-making and should be compared with other factors for the final prioritization:

  • Temporal Dimension:Which search fields can be started in the current year, which should be realized in the following year?
  • Strategic Fit: Which search fields are the most consistent with the corporate strategy and objectives?
  • Resources: What is the ranking of possible search fields with regard to scarce resources (e.g. financial and personnel resources)?
  • Trends and customer needs: Which relevant trends and customer needs are particularly important, and should be addressed as a matter of priority (e.g. the trend towards energy efficiency is currently more important for industry than the size of plants)?


Conclusion: Prioritize search fields

Within the scope of the search field analysis, promising search fields must be identified and evaluated on the basis of relevant criteria. In the course of prioritizing the search fields, not only the time dimension, but also the corporate strategy, relevant trends and, above all, unfulfilled customer needs should be taken into account. This is because where products and services do not adequately satisfy the needs of customers, a corresponding offer is particularly attractive for those customers. Please also read our article on this subject „How to use search fields in innovation management“.

Topic: machines/industry 4.0

LEAD Roadmap


Born in Lower Austria. At LEAD Innovation she works as Head of Innovation and focuses on agile innovation management via SCRUM.

You want to work with us?

We would be pleased to advise you on a possible cooperation to make your innovation management future-proof.

Contact us