Blog Category: Awkward Realities

“What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?”

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Jeff Bezos believes this is a more important question than “What’s going to change in the next 10 years?” In the world of new product development, we find that customer outcomes—desired end results—tend to be more stable over time than supplier solutions. So instead of validating your solutions during customer interviews, seek to uncover and understand the most important, unmet customer outcomes. Then pursue these stable targets with your solutions.

More in video, New Product Blueprinting—the Future of B2B Innovation

Is it time to rethink your company’s “true-north” goal?

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For decades, “maximize shareholder wealth” has been the mantra recited in boardrooms. This is changing: Jack Welch even called it “the dumbest idea in the world.” It’s a lovely result, but a lousy goal. Your employees need goals that are actionable and inspiring. Chasing quarterly earnings fails this test. Instead, focus employees on creating superior customer value through new products. This leads to profitable, sustainable organic growth… which reliably leads to increasing shareholder wealth.

More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #5

What is the number one objective for any business leader?

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I believe it should be this: Leave your business stronger than you found it. It doesn’t matter how good those soon-forgotten quarterly financial results were. If the leader weakened the business by degrading its ability to grow—through either neglect or raiding capabilities for short term gain—that leader failed. I’m puzzled that boards of directors and executive teams allow business leaders to perform well in the short term while damaging the long-term health of their business. Very odd.

More in article, B2B Organic Growth: Moving to earned growth.

When assumptions masquerade as facts, mistaken identity turns into mistakes.

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Do your new product development teams deal only with facts? Or are “factoids” interspersed, cleverly hiding among the facts? The Oxford English Dictionary defines a factoid as “an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact.” Better to clearly identify and separate your assumptions from facts at the onset of your project… and rigorously investigate the assumptions until your project is based on facts alone.

More in video De-risking Transformational Projects

What do innovation and marketing have in common?

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Peter Drucker said there are only two purposes of business—innovation and marketing—and all other business functions are simply costs. Funny thing is that the unit of innovation and the unit of marketing are the same: customer outcomes. If you don’t understand customer outcomes—their desired end-results—you will neither innovate properly to satisfy those outcomes, nor effectively promote your solutions to them. A clever gentleman, that Mr. Drucker.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth

What drives B2B organic growth? Now we know.

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540 B2B professionals—with over 10,000 years of combined experience—responded to our research survey. Here’s what we learned: They were much more eager to improve growth drivers for understanding customer needs (e.g. customer interviews) than meeting customer needs (e.g. gate-review processes). Of 24 growth drivers, what were they most eager to improve? Market insight.

More in article, What Drives B2B Organic Growth? Now we know.

Some leaders could boost innovation by staying home

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We see three areas where leaders can have a greater negative impact on innovation than positive: 1) organizational friction (travel bans, spending freezes, hiring delays, excessive re-orgs, etc.) that slow innovation to a crawl, 2) spreading too few resources over too many projects so that nothing moves briskly, and 3) short-changing the front-end of innovation, so that a clear picture of customer needs is lacking. Companies pay a heavy price for keeping such leaders in place.

More in article, Accelerate New Product Innovation

Today’s financial results are the future someone else created years ago

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Let’s say you’ve led a business for three years. If this year’s financial performance looks great, it’s likely this is mainly because a) the last business leader put strong growth capabilities in place, or b) you’ve cut costs and taken other short-term measures that will ultimately degrade this business. It takes a long time to build a growth juggernaut, and very little time to “raid” it for short-term gain. Companies should recognize this and reward the “builders” among us.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 7)

If your new product isn’t easily findable, it could be “game over”

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Research shows that it’s often “game over” for your product if a competitor’s product has a better Google search ranking. The key is good search engine optimization (SEO), and the key to that is predicting which keywords your prospects will search for. Here’s a tip: In your front-end voice-of-customer interviews, capture customers’ comments verbatim. Then use their language—which is unlikely to change—in your SEO strategy.

More in article, B2B Product Launch: How to get it right

You can thrive in the “suicide quadrant”

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Many refer to the new-market, new-technology quadrant of the Ansoff matrix as the “suicide quadrant,” given its high-failure rate. This need not be the case. With good planning, you can spot potential “landmines” much earlier, and take steps to either kill your project quickly, redirect it, or accelerate success. Do this by rating risk factors for impact and certainty… and then communicate your progress through Certainty Matrices.

More in article, How to Thrive in the “Suicide Quadrant”