Blog Category: Product Development

Close the Customer Feedback Loop

Without VoC feedback, growth stalls.

Quality guru Edwards Deming taught us that “94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven.” With the right systems, a company will grow and thrive. And few are more important than the “feedback loop.” Unfortunately, this term has been used so broadly that the original and powerful meaning has ... Read More

Your “future you” will thank you.

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Don’t let your future be “that time you’ll wish you’d done what you’re not doing now.” You’ll be thankful later if you recalibrate your time horizon now… diverting some of your short-term attention to the future of your business. Besides, what you do this quarter is largely a spectator sport. The prices, profits and margins we wring our hands about during financial reviews were determined years ago by the new products created then for customers.

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

Don’t get lulled into complacency by “inherited growth.”

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Long ago, clever employees at your company developed industry-leading products. Most of your growth and profits today probably come from these sturdy product platforms. Don’t count on inherited growth continuing: Every year, purchasing agents and competitors are working diligently to commoditize your specialty products. Glad I could cheer you up on this.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 14).

How much work is “too much” in the front end of innovation?

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Our research asked B2B professionals what drives profitable, sustainable organic growth. The #1 answer was delivering strong, differentiated value propositions. And the #1 differentiator between the best and worst value-creating companies was superior front end of innovation work (www.whatdrivesb2borganicgrowth.com). There are important front-end steps top-performing companies take to strengthen their value propositions. Consider seven steps using this lens: If ... Read More

It’s not so difficult to move from Innovation Maturity Level 1 directly to Level 3.

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In Level 1, you start with your ideas and launch products you think customers will want. In Level 2, you still start with your ideas, but “validate” them with customers. In Level 3, you start with customer needs, using divergent and convergent interviews. You uncover a full range of outcomes and only work on those customers care about.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).

Stop stifling growth with second-order effects

What’s the next domino? Why business leaders should think about 2nd order effects

In a complex system—like your business—every action leads to a second-order effect (SOE). Some are unknowable. Others are easily predicted but routinely ignored by business leaders. We’ll explore growth-stunting SOE’s you should avoid… and a 5th order plan for your ultimate business success. A college student studies hard, gets good grades (second-order effect), and begins ... Read More

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