B2B Organic Growth Series: Chapter #3

Awkward Reality #331

How long have we failed to understand customer needs in new product innovation?


The best research says we’ve struggled for about five decades now. In 1971, the leading cause of new-product failure was “inadequate market analysis” (45%, with the next cause at 29%). In 2019, the leading cause was “No market need” (42%, with the next cause at 29%). After five decades, maybe it’s time to get serious about understanding customer needs before developing new products? Not that we need to rush into this, of course.

More in article, Target Customer Needs and Win

Awkward Reality #330

Transformational R&D projects: 4 Steps the best teams do well.


You know you’ve got a top-notch team exploring that unfamiliar market or technology when you see them… 1) identify all project assumptions at the onset, 2) detect and defuse unforeseen “landmines” (project killers) as early as possible, 3) advance the project rapidly without detours and distractions (or kill the project swiftly), and 4) spend funds investigating and pursuing only that which truly matters. The methodology for doing this is described in the short video at www.deriskprojects.com.

More in article, How to de-risk projects and overcome management doubt

B2B Organic Growth Series: Chapter #2

B2B Organic Growth Series: Chapter #1

Awkward Reality #329

You need better targeting, not a bigger payload.


Would you want a bigger payload or a better targeting system for missiles, cancer treatment or gold mining? A bigger payload would be a larger warhead, radiation dosage, or backhoe shovel. Better targeting would be more precise hits on enemy positions, cancer tumors, or ore deposits. Better targeting reduces waste and collateral damage. Same for your R&D: Precisely target customer needs before stepping into the lab. This avoids waste (squandered R&D) and collateral damage (discouragement and slow growth).

More in article, Target Customer Needs and Win

Awkward Reality #328

Two completely different reasons for halting a new-product project.


Imagine two new-product project teams have gate reviews on the same day, and both projects are stopped. The first is stopped for the right reasons, e.g. smaller-than-expected market size or low customer interest… as evidenced by tiny Market Satisfaction Gaps. This is low Opportunity Quality. The second team is stopped due to sloppy work: skimpy customer interviews and much confirmation bias. This is low Execution Quality. Celebrate the first team. Train the second. For every project, make sure you know which is which.

More in article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics

The Voice of the Customer: A Primer for Everyone

Child walking to school - Primer for the voice of the customer

“The Voice of the Customer”, an article by Abbie Griffin and John Hauser from 1993, joined two parallel worlds. The first, of academia and market research. The second, the practical engineering discipline of new product development. As such, “The Voice of the Customer” built upon the leading framework at the time for building new products, ... Read More