Blog Category: Product Development

How much time should you spend in the front end of innovation?

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Years ago, a study by APQC found the most successful teams invest 20+% of their total new-product work in the front-end… while most teams spend 10% or less here. Roughly speaking, a Market Case requires about 3 person-months of effort, while a full Business Case needs about 6 person-months. So if you “do the math” for 20% in the front-end, you should require a Market Case for projects needing 1 person-year of development, and a Business Case for those needing 2+ years.

More in article, Business Case Excellence: The 12 Key Components

Apply the FAQS approach to your high-stakes project.

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If your big project is successful, it will be because the assumptions it rested on were true. But when you start your project, you don’t know what is and is not true. Think of 4 factors in descending certainty: 1) Facts (we know what we know.) 2) Assumptions (we know what we think.) 3) Questions (we know what we don’t know.) 4) Surprises (we don’t know what we don’t know.) To “de-risk” your project, lay these out at the beginning of your project… and then drive each from uncertainty to certainty.

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

What separates the winners and losers in the front-end of B2B innovation?

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Our research shows “strong value propositions” are the #1 driver of B2B organic growth: The ability to develop such value propositions separates the “winners” and “losers.” Here are the 3 growth drivers (out of 24) that show the greatest competency differences between these winners and losers:  #1 Front-end Work (creating a compelling business case), #2 Market Concentration (disproportionately focusing resources on attractive market segments), and #3 Customer Interviews: (gaining the insights needed to establish your value proposition).

More in research report, What Drives B2B Organic Growth?

Can you name one endeavor where champions didn’t first build their capabilities?

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Let’s see: How about gymnasts… golfers… chess masters… rock climbers. Yep, anyone who seeks the championship focuses intently on first building their capabilities and skills. They know this is the only way to get superior results. But what about many business leaders? Do they fixate more on capabilities or results? It seems many “show up” each quarter hoping for great results, without having done anything meaningful to build growth-ensuring capabilities.

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

The Magic of Market Segmentation

Market Segmentation with Examples

It’s always a good idea to reinforce the basics. The best of the best, in every craft, maintain a focus on fundamentals. Consider that the great Tiger Woods continues to perfect his golf swing, even as he approaches the end of his career. For innovation, few concepts are as fundamental as market segmentation. In this ... Read More

What drives B2B organic growth more than anything else?

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In our research, B2B professionals rated a strong value proposition as the #1 most important driver of profitable, sustainable organic growth. But what makes it strong? Certainly not the supplier’s opinion. A value proposition is only strong if it addresses outcome(s) important and unsatisfied to the customer. This is the part that most B2B new-product teams bungle. They guess, hope, or hypothesize which outcomes customers want. Big mistake. Without unbiased, unfiltered data, most teams are led astray by their confirmation bias.

More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #19

Benchmarking for B2B Product Innovation

Benchmarking for B2B - Four Steps Needed for New Product Differentiation

While VOC is extremely important, the most overlooked practice in B2B product development today is competitive benchmarking. This should be done in the front-end of innovation using 4 steps: 1) Identify outcomes to benchmark, 2) Identify customers’ alternatives, 3) Identify test methods, and 4) Identify benchmark levels (how good is good enough?) ... Read More

Should NPD teams draft a Market Case or a Business Case?

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For years we’ve advised new product development teams to write a Business Case… to request moving their project into the development stage. But now we often suggest they use a simpler Market Case for their smaller projects. The Business Case has 12 sections while the Market Case has but 6. But the Market Case has the most important section… “Value Proposition”… in which solid evidence of customer needs is presented (usually in the form of Market Satisfaction Gaps).

Download Sample Market Case (after Step 3)

Are you trying to win a 5000-meter race… while Wall Street only cheers this lap?

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Imagine you’re a long-distance runner and some spectators in the stands have side-bets on how you’ll do this lap. Would you pay attention to them? Would you increase your pace just to make them happy… and lose the race as a result? This is precisely what you do when you pursue quarterly results “at all costs.” Remember, Wall Street analysts don’t give a fig about your company’s long-term well-being. That’s your job.

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

Is it time to rethink your company’s time horizon?

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Research published in Harvard Business Review showed companies exhibiting long-term behavior have higher revenue, earnings, job creation, and market capitalization. Clearly, the key to shareholder wealth is long-term behavior, not short-term. If you’re at a financial review discussing revenue, price and margins, you are engaged in a spectator sport. What if your meetings three years ago focused on developing blockbuster products? That was a participant sport, because your longer time horizon allowed you to impact future financial performance. Not just talk about it.

More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #7