Awkward Reality #301

Are you working on a system with diminishing returns or increasing returns?

301-Diminishing-Returns

Keep working harder and smarter, but recognize you’ll move the needle less and less in a system of diminishing returns… like wringing out the last bit of productivity or quality. But when you focus on understanding customer needs better than competitors, your insights and new product innovations—and resulting revenue—will keep coming. Increasing returns. A wonderful system to work hard and smart at.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave.

Awkward Reality #300

Take these 5 steps to de-risk your big, scary project.

300-Scary-Project

It’s easy to take the anxiety out of high-stakes projects: 1. Brainstorm all assumptions that must be true for your project to succeed. 2. Have each team member vote on “certainty” & “impact” for each assumption. 3. Debate & consolidate votes as a team. 4. Develop a plan to investigate high-impact, low-certainty assumptions. 5. Drive each assumption from uncertainty to certainty. If an assumption is not true, it’s a project-killing “landmine.” Find it early, celebrate… and start your next project.

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

Awkward Reality #299

Real business leadership is learned, not bestowed.

299-Leadership-not-bestowed

We call our bosses “leaders” out of respect for their organizational position. But have they learned how to drive B2B organic growth? In fairness, we provide training to the rank and file so they can develop new skills… but we expect our busy leaders will somehow “pick up” what’s needed. We’ve compiled 30 lessons for business leaders in the e- book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth. You can even sign up to receive a 2-minute weekly video lesson for 30 weeks… an executive short-course in leading growth.

More in article, B2B Organic Growth: 8 top lessons for leaders

Awkward Reality #298

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

298-How-much-time

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

Awkward Reality #297

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

Awkward Reality #296

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

296-Winners-and-Losers

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?

B2B vs B2C: Why B2B companies have advantages

B2B vs B2C

When you consider B2B vs B2C, which market profession has greater advantages? Business schools offer more B2C courses, consumer research tools abound, and sophisticated marketers at B2C companies like Apple and P&G are held in high esteem. B2B marketers are often engineers or sales reps that were tapped on the shoulder and told to “do ... Read More

Don’t Confuse Concept Testing With VoC

Concept testing vs VoC

If we bring a prototype to a customer, this is “concept testing.” Something different from  voice of the customer research.  But when definitions are  not understood, these become conflated and  we fool ourselves into believing that we’re more customer-centric than we really are. This confusion results from how innovation and new product processes have evolved. ... Read More