Blog Category: Innovation

Avoid the commodity death spiral at all costs.

453-Commodity-Death-Spiral

Imagine your business stopped innovating, your profits declined, and it is now budgeting time. To salvage next year, you’ll likely cut long-term costs, e.g. R&D or marketing, further reducing your ability to create high-value products. Next year, you’ll have even fewer options. This results in death or irrelevancy. If you’ve started this spiral, pull out quickly.

More in 2-minute video at 9. Avoid the commodity death spiral

Don’t like what’s coming out of your extruder? Better check what’s going into your feed hopper.

452-Extruder-Hopper

Most financial business reviews are like standing around the output die, exhorting the extruder to do better. But nobody’s checking the feed hopper. It looks like an intelligent meeting, discussing gross margins, price increases and growth rates. But these were predetermined years earlier, largely by your new products, what you put into the feed hopper.

More in 2-minute video at 10. Extend your time horizon

Don’t hire more R&D resources until you shift existing personnel “up and out.”

439-Scientists-Getting-Out

You shift resources “up” by investing manpower earlier in understanding market needs. This lets you be more successful later in developing solutions. You shift resources “out” when employees spend less time talking to each other… and more time directly engaging customers, through interviews and tours. Develop new skills for this, and create a new company culture.

More in white paper, www.catchtheinnovationwave.com (page 6)

It is unreasonable to expect sales calls to drive your innovation efforts.

438-Sales-Visit

Your sales force should play a key role in innovation-focused interviews. But not by themselves. Unaccompanied sales reps seldom attract all the right customer contacts, and they’re not rewarded for the lengthy time horizons required. Besides, market-facing innovation requires central coordination, since a single sales territory won’t contain all the needed prospects. However, your sales force can play a critical role when it also becomes a learning force.

More in 2-minute video at 47. Make your sales force a learning force

Most companies can double their R&D resources… for free.

436-Double-Resources

Want to add employees who know your technologies and markets, can start work tomorrow, and cost nothing more? It’s easy: Just kill the dead-end projects that tie up half your resources. Free your people to work on projects your customers actually care about. It’s not hard to learn which projects to kill. In fact, strong project teams will halt weak projects on their own. Many will do this using the data-driven evidence that comes from market satisfaction gaps.

More in white paper, www.marketsatisfactiongaps.com

Quickly identify any over-served markets. Then sprint in the opposite direction.

433-Lower-Price

If all customer outcomes in a market are either unimportant or already satisfied, you’ll see low Market Satisfaction Gaps. This is an over-served market, and there’s only one thing that makes these customers happy: Dropping your price. Race to more attractive markets and hope your competitors waste resources here. Have you identified your over-served markets yet?

More in white paper, www.marketsatisfactiongaps.com

Your R&D is probably the biggest resource sinkhole in the company.

432-Sinkhole

Where else do you invest tens of millions of dollars in personnel, so that many can work diligently on answers to the wrong questions? If your firm is like most, one-half of your product development resources are working on projects that will be cancelled or fail to yield an adequate return. You can stop this innovation malpractice with the science of B2B customer insight. Specifically, you must stop projects from entering the development stage unless you have data-driven evidence of customer needs.

More in 2-minute video at 35. Insist on data-driven innovation

Avoid the 4 Traps of Predicting Technology Adoption

Avoid the 4 traps of technology prediction using jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) thinking that is informed by the voice of the customer. Image of a large door open to the future.

It’s natural to ruminate on the future; in particular, about technology adoption. What changes will future technology waves bring?  Will we ride them to riches or drown under the weight of disruption? A Danish proverb warns that “Prediction is dangerous, especially about the future.” A cycle of bad logic Unfortunately, when we theorize, we can ... Read More

Your new product development process is backwards.

425-Backward-Process

If your new product development process begins with “idea generation,” is it your idea… or your customers’? If you start with your idea, you probably won’t understand customer needs until the end… by seeing if they buy your new product. Why not flip your approach and start with customer needs? Unless you’d rather your R&D kept guessing at customer needs.

More in white paper, www.guessingatcustomerneeds.com

Jobs-to-Be-Done for B2B Markets

girl-ideas-thinking

“Jobs-to-be-done” (JTBD) is a powerful way of thinking that 1) provides a longer time horizon than a product focus, 2) guides you when conducting pre-interview market research, 3) naturally integrates with New Product Blueprinting, and 4) helps you separate the core, focal job from consumption chain jobs. ... Read More

Create a Product Spec in Four Steps

create a product spec

Within every new product initiative, we must create a product spec.  As a result, engineers need to know what to “build to.” Meanwhile, modern innovation methods begin with customer needs as the input to the process, leaving an important, and too-often unanswered question, “How do we get from a customer need to a product specification?” ... Read More