Traversing the Valley of Death

Traversing the Valley of Death

System for Industrial Innovation

Crossing the Valley of Death and managing major innovation is the same thing.

Through a series of exercises and worksheets, the System (as we call it) helps organizations quickly develop ideas into legitimate, profitable business opportunities and capture these opportunities in a compelling business case (the stuff the senior management of these organizations wants to see) in order to secure necessary resources. The System also recommends the necessary governance system and metrics required to implement them. In other words, the System lays out an entire strategy and tool kit for crossing the Valley of Death.

The CIMS System for Industrial Innovation is not a theoretical construct or some academic exercise. It has already been put into practice at more than a dozen companies of all sizes and industries as well as several universities, governmental and international agencies have applied the system: The Ohio State University, Lufburough University in England, Hambat University in South Korea, NASA, the Kenan Institute, Portugal’s Technology Commercialization Program and South Korea’s Innopolis.

Put simply, the System converts ideas into winning products and services.

Its purpose is threefold:

  1. Guide organizations to quickly develop ideas into legitimate, profitable business opportunities
  2. Capture these opportunities in a compelling case for securing the necessary resources
  3. Plan for the adoption of the innovation and to establish the necessary governance system required to systematically do breakthrough innovation and measure the performance of that innovation in the marketplace.

The system lays out an entire business system and strategy for actually doing breakthrough innovation. The six subsystems are organized in three modules, each divided into two components and constituting a principal step in the overall process of breakthrough innovation.

Senior Management (CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, CMO, etc.)

  • Brings to the forefront proven, time tested systematic big innovation processes
  • Provides a guide for how big change can happen in your organization
  • Provides the insight for establishing a consistent culture across the organization rather than a “Culture by Business Function” mentality
  • Provides the tools and roadmap so you can take charge of successful transformation

Business Unit or Division Leaders (BU, GM, R&D, Strategy, etc.)

  • Provides an understanding of how you can grow your piece of the pie through unique innovation processes
  • Learn how to embed and manage innovation best practices in your business unit
  • A guide for how you can help your organization identify innovation opportunities
  • Gives your teams the structures, processes, tools and metrics that will put them on the path to innovation

Project Managers, Product Managers, Marketing Manager, etc.

  • Learn the secrets to empower innovation, a complex process for any organization
  • Learn the in’s and out’s of innovation management and why it’s never a straight line
  • Gain an understanding of the political minefields with innovation process.
  • Recognize growth-spawning projects and get the tools for success so you don’t fall into the “valley of death”


Renowned Innovation Author and Speaker, Robert Tucker,
has this to say about this book:


Traversing the Valley of Death was written for innovation leaders. It will guide you in overcoming the barriers to commercializing growth-spawning projects. It is a full-on system, not a disjointed collection of random tools and best practices. It spans the entire innovation process: from idea generation and opportunity-sensing, through the development phase, and on through the internal Valley of Death by a thousand cuts (budget, resource allocation, etc.). It deals forthrightly with all the ways an idea can get derailed and arms you with tools to encourage you to think ahead of the curve. And it motivates you to get started!”

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