9 Elements to Successfully Pitch an Idea

Everyone involved with innovation is in sales. Anytime a push for a change occurs, someone has to sell the change to those who are tied to the status quo. In the innovation world, those resisting the change are referred to as corporate anti-bodies. And just like in biology, the anti-body is trying to kill off what is perceived as a threat. As a result, pitching the changes and pitching them well becomes critical. The changes in the context of innovation come in the form of new ideas. Selling ideas is similar to selling products and services but there are important differences. Ideas are intangible. Selling an intangible idea, something that has yet to take form requires an easy and consistent idea pitch.

The idea pitch often occurs in two forms, verbal and written, depending on the audience. Aligning both forms so the idea pitch ensures consistency. It also helps the seller collect and organize their thoughts. Working the idea through the One Page Idea Pitch Template not only helps with the organization of thoughts, helping to alignment both the verbal and the written presentations, but also produces a quick and easy reference for the people receiving the pitch.  Download the template for free using the form to the right of the article.

Idea Pitch

There are nine elements in an idea pitch.
1. The One Line Pitch: In one sentence, describe the problem, solution and target market. This is similar to an elevator speech.
2. Problem to be Solved: Describe the problem or challenge. Leverage a Challenge Map for determining the correct problem.
3. The Idea: Describe the idea to solve the problem.
4. Idea Benefits: Describe three (3) benefits the idea has in solving the problem that is new, unique or something not tried before.
5. Target Market: Describe who will benefit from the idea/solution. This may be internal organizations or external customers.
6. Competition: Describe how other competitors currently handle the same challenge. Also describe how this idea is better than the competition.
7. The Request: Describe what is needed to move the project forward in regards to funding, resources, research, prototypes, etc.
8. Future Milestones: Assuming the previous request is granted, what is the estimated timeline and major milestones to show progress towards a final solution or product?
9. Additional Info: Add any additional information that supports the idea to move forward.

The sections above tell the “story” of the idea. The One Page Idea Pitch Template is useful for developing a “sales pitch” for the new idea and presenting it to management for consideration. This is not a business case, business plan or business model. Those require more detailed information and are leveraged in different ways. This is a pitch of the idea, selling the change perceived to move things forward.

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