PILOT – Ideation to H2 Opportunity Portfolio (The iHOPe Project)

Resource Type
Research Project
Scott Mathews, Stephanie Hartwig
Portfolio Management, Strategic Planning, Managing Innovation and R&D
Associated Event
Research Project

Initiated:  Spring 2020

Expected completion:  Spring 2022

Quick pitch

Launch Webinar

Latest Update

Receive project updates.

To learn more, contact Lee Green.

Value Proposition

Challenge: We believe an opportunity gap exists between the well-exercised processes of Horizon 3 Ideation (H3: 5+ years) portfolio and Horizon 1 Stage-Gate (H1: 1-2 years) project portfolio. Our focus is to bridge that gap – the fuzzy Horizon 2 Opportunity Portfolio (H2: 3-5 years)

Some IRI companies successfully manage the gap, while others struggle. What hasn’t worked and why? What has worked? Yes, H2 is about developing a compelling story and business case aligned to a strategy. That task is a difficult achievement for many organizations given the uncertainty 3 – 5 years out. But there are other issues that hamper H2 performance: H2 is squeezed out of portfolio allocation, usurped by H1 priorities, and technology development resources are mostly restricted to H3 activities. Are there other challenges? Organizational?, Resources?, Cultural?…

By leveraging insights from adjacent industries (biotech and pharmaceutical – Enrich Consulting, our external advisor), and illuminating better practices of member IRI companies, alerting where might exist the stumbling blocks, we believe we can provide knowledgeable guidance to IRI companies to successfully navigate the H2 gap and advance compelling, qualified prospects into H1 portfolios.


The fundamental approach is a comparison of contrasting case studies of those IRI members demonstrating successful corporate portfolio processes (H2 in particular) with those members who endeavor to better manage their portfolios. This differential approach will highlight which practices result in improved performance and provide distinguishing insights to other IRI member companies wanting to improve their corporate portfolio performance. As our project title implies, we want to make the findings and proposed solutions “real” (not theoretical) for the member participants.

We will consult heavily on expertise from our IRI Network select participants, particularly ILN chairs, and external sponsors. Enrich brings external expertise in successfully guiding management of billion-dollar biotech/pharmaceutical portfolios. New-Edge, another external advisor, provides consulting expertise to many IRI companies, particularly around opportunity portfolio management.

Initially we will use focus groups/roundtables to develop a detailed draft of project objectives and to discover and elicit key member participation in H2 portfolio process review. The convergence of project objectives together with key members will lead  to in depth interviews of contrasting case studies (target minimum six to twelve ) of Horizon 2 and portfolio management practices. In exemplary cases, we plan to utilize guided interviews, whereby outside experts participate in the interview to provide more in-depth  questioning. These case studies along with the data will form the core of our reported findings.

For the 2021 Annual Meeting, the findings will be presented and consolidated into several teachable formats including a playbook/ roadmap handout and a benchmarking tool. All the data gathered will be anonymized and there will be no attribution of findings to or from any one company unless explicitly authorized.


Spring 2020

Phase 1: Define the Challenge for Horizon 2 Portfolios
Collaboration: ILN chairs & ext. sponsorsTask: develop comprehensive project outline and detailed draft of project objectives
Research: existing literature
Present drafts: Project Pitch, Project Outline w/Research, Think Tank activities to ILN

Fall 2020

Prepare comprehensive project plan + sample questions + list of IRI member H2 collaborators
Phase 2: Document Current H2 Procedures and Practices in Selected IRI Companies
Collaboration: ILN chairs & ext. sponsors
Test interview(s) with IRI member(s) to fine tune data gathering process. collaborators gaining insights/data on specific H2 portfolio practices

Winter 2020

Continuing Phase 2: Document Current H2 Procedures Practices in Selected IRI Companies through Interviews with remaining IRI members along with ILN chair collaborators gaining insights/data on H2 portfolio practices
Initiate Phase 3a: Investigate State-of-the-Art Practices (IRI internal & external)Collaboration: ILN chairs & ext. sponsors
In depth interviews of selected IRI members and ILN collaborators with refined insights/data on specific H2 portfolio practices.
Develop Use Cases.

Spring 2021

Phase 3b: Develop Benchmarking Tools for Best-Practices and Transformation Methods
Collaboration: ILN chairs & ext. sponsors
Preliminary summary of interviews of IRI member H2 collaborators to ILN chairs; presentation of preliminary summary to interviewees for feedback; guided interviews highlighting exemplary cases

IRI Annual Conference 2021

Member workshop(s) guided by playbook/ roadmap handout, benchmarking tools, lessons learned, and use cases intended to ease H2 portfolio management integration into organizations

Spring 2022

RTM article submission

Anticipated Deliverables

Practical better practices for H2 portfolio management

IRI Annual Conference presentation:

  • Progress reports and findings to IRI PILOT Steering Committee and ILN chairs
  • Member workshop(s) at Annual Meeting guided by playbook/roadmap handout intended to ease H2 portfolio management integration into organizations
  • Written and illustrated RTM article
  • Use case stories of selected H2 portfolio practices that yield demonstrably better results:
    • resource allocation
    • alignment to goals and internal metrics
    • tools and techniques
    • efficient termination of failures and promotion of winners
    • clarity of portfolio strategy purpose and completeness of business cases
    • archival lessons learned


Please email the iHOPe Project at: IRIProject@iHOPeProject.org.

Past presentations

July 2020 update

Fall 2020 Networks Meeting

November 2020 update

January 2021 update

Spring 2021 Networks Meeting

Project Leads

Scott Mathews

Scott Mathews has academic training in computer engineering, digital control systems, and computational finance. He was a Boeing Technical Fellow in business analytics at Boeing’s R&D division (Seattle). He has more than 30 years’ experience as a robotics engineer and research scientist in the United States, Europe, and Asia. For the past 15 years, he has been engaged in stochastic modeling, portfolio management, and investment analytics. He has expertise in complex financial and investment risk decision modeling that features real option valuation and holds two dozen patents in the field. He has contributed several articles to RTM including two dealing with innovation portfolio management. Scott.h.mathews@gmail.com

Stephanie Hartwig

Stephanie Hartwig specializes in identifying opportunities for short- and long-term growth initiatives for organizations across a broad range of industries, from aerospace, energy, and manufacturing to health care, technology, travel, tourism, and hospitality. She has more than 20 years of experience developing and driving corporate strategies based on recognition of new opportunities. She has worked with Fortune 500 global organizations, applying her expertise in innovation best practices based on Opportunity Thinking and Disruptive Market Research methodologies. She recently co-authored the RTM Research Note on Innovation Project Risk Analytics: A Preliminary Finding.  shartwig220@gmail.com