Awkward Reality #13

When analytical and discovery thinking compete in NPD processes, expect the former to dominate.

13-Analysis

Analysis looks for what has been done wrong; discovery for what could be done right. Failing to discover opportunities is a costly error. Paradoxically, it is most often forgiven. In fact, if your team fails to develop a blockbuster because it missed a critical customer need, no one will even notice. At least not until a competitor does a better job.

More in executive briefing, Should Your Stage-Gate® Get a No-Go?

Awkward Reality #12

Fixate on the only source of unlimited potential, not sources of diminishing return.

12-Diminishing-Returns

Unlike innovation, quality and productivity apply to current operations and yield diminishing returns. What do you do after you reach zero defects… or your factory is being run by the proverbial “man and a dog”? (The man feeds the dog; the dog bites the man if he touches the controls.) Customer-facing innovation is different. There is no limit. Just look at Apple Computer.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 2)

Awkward Reality #11

Don’t expect your stage-and-gate process to do what it was never designed to do.

11-Square-Peg

It was designed to manage the interface between project teams and your company… for portfolio analysis, resource planning, risk reduction, tracking, etc. Fine, but you also need to improve the interface between teams and customers. Competitive advantage in customer-facing innovation requires skills and tools your competitors lack.

Learn more about B2B innovation at www.theaiminstitute.com

Awkward Reality #10

Once your new product is launched, the pricing insight window slams shut.

Pricing New vs. Existing Products2

Customers will help you set prices before—but not after—you launch your new product. They want you to develop innovative new products and services that deliver value to them… so they’ll give you insights to make this happen. These same insights allow you to establish optimal pricing. Do you know how to do this? It will be too late after you launch your product.

More in article, Pricing New vs. Existing Products (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter)

Awkward Reality #9

“Maximize shareholder value” is the pledge of allegiance recited in board rooms. It is a poor goal.

9-Business-Pledge

This mantra guides the decisions of the business masses. But is it right? Peter Drucker didn’t think so. He said the primary purpose of a business is to acquire and keep customers. I believe increased shareholder value is a good result, but a lousy goal. You’ll have better results if your goal becomes: “Understand and meet the needs of our customers.”

More in article, Why Maximizing Shareholder Value is a Flawed Goal

Awkward Reality #8

The B2B interviewer should have two goals: customer insight and customer engagement.

8-Customer-Engagement

Research shows the best way to sell a product is to probe customers’ needs. But why wait until the product is developed? If you probe beforehand, you’ll create a better product and “pre-sell” your product. This isn’t practical for interviewing millions of B2C toothpaste buyers, but it is for concentrated B2B markets. B2B engagement skills aren’t difficult. Do you have them?

More in newsletter, How to Grow in a Stagnant Economy (Nov-Dec, 2008)

Awkward Reality #7

Overwhelm your competitors by turning a trickle of customer feedback into a torrent.

7-Torrent

Some companies rely on a handful of internal VOC (voice-of-customer) experts to interview customers. You’ll do far better if you train a critical mass of employees—who routinely interact with customers anyway—to gather customer needs. Keep your VOC experts as coaches and trainers, but implement “VOC for the masses.”

More in executive briefing, Seven Mistakes that Stunt Organic Growth