Awkward Reality #336

Top-quartile growth comes from top-quartile capabilities.

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Do you want serendipitous growth each year… or superior, sustainable organic growth you can count on year after year? For the latter, you’ll need improved capabilities—training, methods and tools—across your organization in many areas. We’ve identified 24 of these “growth drivers” in our research, What Drives B2B Organic Growth. You can see your percentile benchmark rank against others on all 24 with our free B2B Growth Diagnostic. It’s the first step on the road from serendipity to sustainability.

More in article, Is it time for a growth capability diagnostic assessment?

Awkward Reality #335

“How’s your new product doing, Joe?”

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How do you know if you’re accepting too much commercial risk in your new product development? You know if Joe answers, “Not sure. Guess we’ll find out next month when we launch it.” Future B2B innovators will think this is nuts. When you innovate for a B2B market, nearly everything needed to eliminate commercial risk is “knowable” in the front end of innovation, before development begins. That’s because your B2B customers have high knowledge, objectivity, interest and foresight (as explained in 2-minute video, Understand your B2B advantage.).

More in article, Target Customer Needs and Win

Awkward Reality #334

Should new-product innovators stop showing customers a prototype?

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If you conduct the right kind of B2B quantitative interviews, you don’t need to show customers a prototype to see if they’ll like it. You’ll already know what they want if you use the methods in this 2-minute video: Benchmark Competing Alternatives. However… prototypes can still be helpful to a) further engage customers, b) understand the value your new product delivers, and c) make refinements. But if you’re serving a B2B market, you can stop lobbing prototypes to understand what customers want.

More in article, Predict the customer’s experience with modeling

Awkward Reality #333

Business leaders should train like champions in any other endeavor.

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Be it chess or golf, champions know they must train. A striking difference between business leaders and rock climbers is that the former often think they can reach the top without proper training. Imagine showing up at the base of El Capitan with recliner-chair abs, the wrong gear, and no climbing skills. Ridiculous? What about businesses that proclaim double-digit growth plans year after year, but do nothing to prepare for their climb? A good start is acquiring business-wide training and tools for market-facing innovation. (See 2-minute video, Build your growth capabilities.)

More in article, New Product Training: Time to Build Growth Muscles

Awkward Reality #332

It’s wise to clearly separate your R&D into 3 buckets.

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Bucket #1 is Technology Development… science-facing innovation that turns money into knowledge. Bucket #2 is Product Development… market-facing innovation that turns knowledge back into money. Bucket #3 is Process Development… optimizing the production of existing products to make money more efficiently. Don’t focus on customer needs for Bucket #1 (it’s too early) or #3 (it’s too late)… but do this very well for Bucket #2. In the entire money-making process, this is your greatest point of leverage today.

More in article, Target Customer Needs and Win

Awkward Reality #331

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

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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.

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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