Survival of the Fittest has a home in the worlds of Brand and Product Development.

Several years ago I had the honor of leading an innovation summit for a global NGO. Team members from around the world were assembled together in a room and given three strategic questions to use as fodder for ideas that would generate growth in revenue and global impact. At the end of the two day session, using a combination of creative and bizarre ideation tactics, the assembled group of 60 leaders had produced over 1600 new ideas!

Needless to say, the event was absurdly successful at generating ideas. But of course, not every idea is equal, and resources to push each idea forward are finite.

Good stewardship means ideas or products which might very well generate good revenue need to be sacrificed for the ideas and products that will maximize opportunity. At the end of the day, if we’ve learned anything from late-night television commercials and email spam, there is always somebody who will buy your product. But purchase alone is never the goal. As Coca-Cola recently revealed, whether you’re allocating resources to new ideas or existing products, good stewardship always mean sacrifice.

After sifting the 1600 ideas through filters brand alignment and channel capacity, and then a further level of rigor with audience focus groups, we landed on 15 products to push through the next phase of our product development process. In the end just two products made the final cut, but those two products now account for tens of thousands of new relationships and $500MM+ in added revenue.

I’m positive some of the other products would have been successful in their own way, but stewardship demanded we go in a different direction.