Stage Gate Decision Making: A Scoping Review of Technology Strategic Selection Criteria for Early-Stage Projects

Innovation is a hybrid concept that has evolved over time and adapts itself to changing condition. It plays a major role in the growth and economic competitiveness of firms, and consequently, firms invest in innovation to build knowledge and thus increase competitive advantage. Front end of innovation (FEI) projects, and in particular technology development projects, are therefore a fundamental component of innovation and a crucial factor in developing new competitive advantage. To effectively and objectively manage and evaluate these early-stage technology projects, which are by nature uncertain, a number of firms deploy some form of stage gate processes, utilizing strategic decision criteria. Via a descriptive scoping literature review, we identify 46 articles, which contain 473 uniquely identified strategic selection criteria that can fit in nine categories. We find that technical feasibility is the most frequently occurring unique selection criteria, whereas the market category is the largest category by size of unique individual criteria with 23.3% of the share total. In this research, we contribute to the on-going discussion about early-stage technology projects and their effective evaluation using strategic technology selection criteria. The summary of criteria provided with definitions may serve as guidelines for technology and innovation managers.

Published in IEEE Engineering Management Review, Vol. 48, Issue 2, 2020, pp. 118-135.