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Three Signs You Should Kill an Idea

by Michael Schrage Harvard Business Review September 24, 2013 (Edited for length and clarity)
Whether you’re a start-up or an institutional entrepreneur, here are three mental shortcuts you should look for to determine whether a innovation should be put out of its misery (and yours) before you get to far into the process.  Even if the innovation appears compelling and its numbers sound, should these three symptoms appear, don’t hesitate or delay: Kill your innovation ASAP.

1) No Pleasant Surprises
Almost all innovation suffers hiccoughs and bumps in the road. Design schedules slip and that “quick-and-dirty” prototype ends up costing much more than expected. That’s normal.

But listen closely for "pleasant surprises" such as: 
Coding that takes two weeks to develop instead of two months;you find a more malleable or stronger material at lower cost;a supplier who makes a designer available to collaborate.The absence of pleasant surprises is not unlike the dog that doesn’t bark: it'…