Blog Category: Innovation

Just think of all the mistakes you can make developing new products.

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You can miss an important customer need… pursue the wrong need… over-design and add unneeded costs… measure customer success the wrong way… overlook a competing alternative… over-estimate what customers will pay… under-value your product… use improper messaging. So many chances to err. Fortunately, B2B producers can use a “science” to avoid all of these.

More in article, How to Avoid New-Product Commercial Risk

How Leaders Can Accelerate New-Product Innovation

How-B2B-Business-Leaders-Can-Accelerate-New-Product-Growth-16x9

Imagine a project that leads to new product sales of $5 million per year, with average profit margins. What’s the net present value of launching this product just one month earlier? $80,000! That’s $4000 per business day. Think we could use a little more “innovation urgency”? Consider three ways business leaders can accelerate projects… First, ... Read More

Disrupt Low Margins with Consumption Jobs

Competing in Declining Markets

We are all unique, or we think we are, with this problem: our products are becoming more and more like commodities. You know, gasoline, steel, top soil. Our superior product dreams are trampled by the heavy feet of commoditization. Wouldn’t it be so much more fun to tout the amazing technical wizardry in the annual ... Read More

In true customer-centered B2B innovation, you’re actually not developing your new product.

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You’re developing your customer’s new product. It’s like this: “Mr. Customer, we’ve assembled a team aimed at developing something you’ll love. As you can see, we even brought a lead R&D person with us to listen to you. So can you tell us everything you think we should know before we going into our labs? We want to get this right so the innovation makes you a hero at work.”

More in article, Is Your Innovation Supplier-Centric… or Customer-Centric?

Most B2B firms can make one simple change that will revolutionize their innovation results.

176 Market Satisfaction Gap

This can super-charge your organic growth: Don’t let your R&D conduct any product development work without unbiased, unfiltered data on what customers do and do not want. Market Satisfaction Gaps—based on importance and satisfaction scores for customer outcomes—provide this. You’ll free up enormous resources by working on only what matters.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 13).

Seek more from your B2B customer interviews.

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What else is there besides hearing customers’ needs? Impress them so they’ll want to do business with you. Incorporate your insights into a value calculator to optimize pricing. Use their precise interview language on your website to improve SEO. Uncover unspoken needs in a post-interview customer tour. Understand their next best alternative. Never stop learning.

More in article, You Already Answered 4 Questions, but… Correctly?

I get nervous when I hear the words “validate” and “hypothesis” in the same sentence.

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It’s usually a sign the new-product team has a supplier-centric mindset, not a customer-centric one. Validating hypotheses is converging around a supplier solution… which should occur after diverging around customer needs. It’s important to get the sequence right. Look around and study Problem Solving 101: Divergent thinking nearly always precedes convergent thinking.

More in article, Is Your Innovation Supplier-Centric… or Customer-Centric?

Is it “overkill” to apply advanced B2B customer insight? Was Japanese auto quality overkill?

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I worked in manufacturing in the 1970s, when it seemed like “overkill” to train operators in statistics for quality control. But this is expected today. I met Dr. Deming in the 1980’s and heard him say, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is optional.”  Compared to statistics, the science of B2B customer insight is quite simple. Will you be GM or Toyota in the innovation wave?

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 12).

Make your decision when you’ve gathered the most facts and spent the least money.

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I call this the golden rule of investment. In the case of innovation, it explains why the front-end-of-innovation is the critical battleground. The winning company is the one that most efficiently learns whatever intelligence is needed to drive this important decision: “Should we advance this project into the costly development stage?”

More in article, Should Your Stage-Gate® Get a No-Go?