What is a Project? Defining a Project and Establishing Outcomes by Smart Idea Store


Before you begin to evaluate your ideas or to develop successfully evaluated ideas into products, it may be beneficial to review what constitutes a project so that you can plan your next steps.



A project can be defined in a variety of ways:


‘An individual or collaborative enterprise planned and designed to achieve an aim.’


‘A series of tasks, with estimated timeframes, resource requirements, personnel and costs to deliver a series of defined objectives.’


‘Planned sequence of interrelated tasks with a specified purpose within established time and cost constraints.’


The old British Standard BS 6079 ‘Guide to Project Management’ defined a project as:


‘A unique set of co-ordinated activities, with definite starting and finishing points, undertaken by an individual or organization to meet specific objectives within defined schedule, cost and performance parameters.’


The definition that best suits your project will depend on which stage you have reached in the innovation process, whether that is evaluation, development and/or commercialisation.  The complexity of your project will depend on the desired outcome or outcomes.




The first stage of planning your project is to identify the outcomes you want to achieve.


This might be validation or determination of the technical and commercial potential for your innovation by evaluating the patent status, market potential and technical viability through internet searches and feedback from commercial, technical and legal experts.


The outcomes may either be to protect and develop a prototype that you can evaluate or it may be a longer project that includes getting the product market ready.


Without knowing what outcomes you want to achieve, the planning, time scheduling and cost controlling of your project will, more than likely, be adversely affected.


Understanding the desired outcomes and their potential impact on the continued development and commercialisation activities is central to your project.  These should be revisited frequently throughout each stage in the innovation process and it is worthwhile spending time and effort in the beginning to establish your outcomes before you plan your project.


Smart Idea Store