Blog Category: Innovation

“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

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

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”

Seek to be right, not to be proven right

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“Proven right” breeds confirmation bias; “be right” inspires a search for truth. In new product development, “proven right” seeks to validate the supplier’s ideas; “be right” explores customers’ worlds seeking what others have missed. “Proven right” results in squandered R&D spending and missed opportunities; “be right” in delighted customers, premium pricing, and pleasant financial review meetings.

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

Is organizational friction slowing your new product development?

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What’s the net present value of accelerating the launch of a $5 million revenue-per-year product by one month? About $80,000… or $4000 per business day. Yet we often hinder teams’ progress with organizational friction: travel bans, spending freezes, hiring delays, new assignments, re-organizations, new initiatives, frequent changes in strategy. Consider these actions carefully lest you turn exciting innovation into a mind-numbing slog.

More in article, Accelerate New Product Innovation