Product: Management and Development
Product: Management and Development
Research Article

Prioritization of Digital Innovation Team projects using a utility model and tradespace analysis

R. Chadwick Holmes, Zhao Zhang, Bradley Mallison, Sandra Saldaña, Jason Francis, Bryan R. Moser

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Firms outside of traditional software and internet technology disciplines face unfamiliar challenges in managing portfolios of innovative digital products as their industries are reshaped by digital transformation. When rapid prototyping of proofsof-concept (POCs) is the responsibility of a specialized Digital Innovation Team (DIT), the rate of idea creation can quickly outpace the capacity of this dedicated group. Systematically identifying and pursuing the highest-value ideas aligned with business needs, innovation goals, and enterprise strategy becomes both a vital and difficult technical challenge. This study examines a prioritization and selection (PAS) approach founded on systems engineering (SE) methods to manage the work progressed within a DIT. The assessment combines stakeholder analysis with surveys to characterize a multi-attribute utility function measuring POC benefit. POC resources are estimated from anticipated duration, development needs, validation requirements, and process change necessary for the technical solutions. These metrics characterize a cost-benefit trade-off, complemented by innovation measures associated with each POC. The proposed workflow supports portfolio shaping and work prioritization across different business segments while facilitating the stakeholder alignment and prototype visibility necessary to drive product commercialization. Future work will address a remaining gap in the consistent valuation of lower-benefit innovative work that is a foundational dependency for higher-value POCs.


digital innovation teams, portfolio management, systems engineering, tradespace analysis, value engineering


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