Blog Category: Product Development

Beware 8 first-order actions that can stymie your future growth.

280-Second-Order-Effects

A good business leader understands that every decision will have second-order effects after the initial “intended consequence.” Slower future growth is the second-order effect that often follows these decisions: 1) severe spending cuts, 2) rapid re-organizations, 3) hiring freezes, 4) travel bans, 5) R&D staffing cuts, 6) marketing staffing cuts, 7) new initiatives that distract, and 8) excessive M&A activities. Some such decisions may be needed… but consider the second-order impact on your growth.

More in article, Stop Stifling B2B Organic Growth with 2nd Order Effects

Do you have too many projects on your “NPD highway”?

279-Highway-Traffic

What should be done if highway traffic slows to a crawl? Probably not put more cars on the entrance ramp, right? With every month of delay, a typical B2B new product loses $80K in net present value. So reduce your number of active projects and accelerate those that remain. The best way to kill dead-end projects—or stop them from even starting? Better up-front work. Then your R&D only works on customer outcomes you know they want, not hope they want.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs

Evidence-based innovation leads to innovation speed.

278-Evidence

If your NPD teams are confident of customer needs, your projects will go faster for 3 reasons: 1) Bad ideas are killed quickly, freeing up resources. 2) Dead-end detours and diversions are avoided. 3) Hesitation—with second-guessing, delays and debates—is squelched. As Netscape founder, Jim Barksdale, said “If we have data, let’s use it. If we have opinions, let’s use mine.” B2B innovators can find the data they need in Market Satisfaction Gaps.

More in white paper, Market Satisfaction Gaps

Business Leaders: Are you building your growth capabilities?

277-Rock-Climbing-Capabilities

It may seem counterintuitive, but many business leaders focus too much on business results. Wise leaders balance the pursuit of results with capabilities. Can you name any endeavor—rock-climbing, martial arts, chess—where champions didn’t first build their capabilities? Their victories (results) came later. When you see a leader fixated on quarterly results, picture an amateur climber at the base of El Capitan. He has the wrong shoes, no climbing skills and flabby abs… in other words, no capabilities. But boy oh boy, is he ever eager to climb. Yes, he wants results.

More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #9

 

What’s the most important thing to improve… to drive profitable, organic growth?

276-Market-Insight

We asked this question of 540 B2B professionals—with over 10,000 years of combined experience. Of 24 possible growth drivers, what were they most eager to improve? Market insight. We defined this as “Obtain market insight proactively to drive strategic decisions (vs. being just customer-reactive).” Just as quality and productivity each had their waves of popularity, so market insight is increasingly sought today. Here’s a short video on one way to succeed: Focusing the fuzzy front-end of B2B product development.

More in research report, What Drives B2B Organic Growth?

Own the Future with B2B Customer Insight

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.

Today's innovation methods will look outdated in the future, with these 6 “awkward realities”: 1) We test market needs by launching products at customers. 2) We don’t understand what organic growth requires of us. 3) We misunderstand the proper role of stage-and-gate processes. 4) We interview customers to “validate” our hypothesis. 5) We fail to fully engage customers in our innovation. 6) We are easily distracted from customer-facing innovation. ... Read More

Never treat organic growth as a “new initiative.”

275-Something-New

I hear this all the time: “We just finished trimming our costs, and now it’s time to grow.” Another variation: “Our last CEO focused on operational efficiency, but our new CEO wants growth.” This is nuts. If you run a business, B2B organic growth isn’t an initiative. It’s your job. All the time. Profitable, sustainable organic growth is the only way to ensure your company’s value keeps rising and your employees can count on stable employment. Who wins a race by wandering on and off the track?

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

What’s the #1 driver of profitable, sustainable growth? Survey says…

274-Create-Value

Our survey of 540 B2B professionals—with over 10,000 years of combined experience—investigated 24 possible growth drivers. The highest rated driver of growth was delivering strong, differentiated value propositions. Doing so requires both 1) understanding and 2) meeting customer needs. Respondents felt a much greater desire to improve the former (understanding) than the latter (meeting.) Of 24 growth drivers, what were they most eager to improve? Market insight.

More in research report, What Drives B2B Organic Growth?

Does the Ansoff Matrix make you think… “high risk”?

273-High-Risk

You know this 2×2 matrix: Projects in familiar markets & technologies are in the lower-left corner… the “core.” Most companies think projects outside this core are “risky.” But you can’t assign a level of “risk” because that requires assigning a probability of failure.  And you simply don’t know enough to do this. All you can say is you are “uncertain.” Good news: Uncertainty can be resolved by laying out all your assumptions and investigating each to drive it to certainty.

To see how this is done, view the video at Project De-risking with Minesweeper

Here are 4 practices that expose your innovation to confirmation bias.

270-Confirmation-Bias

Confirmation bias is seeking and interpreting data in a manner that supports our pre-conceived notions. Most innovation processes treat confirmation bias with apathy, when the proper response is dread. You increase your exposure to confirmation bias when you 1) start projects with your solutions, not customers’ outcomes, 2) ask customers to “validate” your ideas, 3) fail to identify and test all assumptions, and 4) skip quantitative customer interviews.

More in article, Market Satisfaction Gaps… your key to B2B organic growth