Awkward Reality #72

Most companies know they’re squandering R&D resources. They just don’t know which resources (yet).

Squandered Research and Development

It’s common to invest about half of a company’s resources on unsuccessful new products. It’s not that their people can’t find the right answers. They’re just being asked the wrong questions. Questions that are unimaginative, and—if solved—create too little value. Questions that are too obvious. Proper B2B interviews produce much better questions.

More in article, Are You Squandering R&D Resources?

Awkward Reality #71

Your innovation problem is best pronounced “time horizon problem.”

71 Long Term and Short Term Buckets

In a now-obscure 1972 HBR article, Richard Vancil complained long-term product development expenses were buried within annual operating plans… allowing short-sighted managers to raid them. Shocking, I know. Divide your budget into short-term and long-term benefit buckets. And make sure someone is guarding the long-term bucket.

More in article, The Commodity Death Spiral (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

Your Best Path to Profitable, Sustainable Organic Growth

Consider this logic chain for growth: A) Your only path to profitable, sustainable growth in in creating customer value. B) The only way to create customer value is by improving important, unmet customer outcomes. C) Most companies do a poor job today of identifying which customer outcomes to improve. D) Proven methods are now available to confidently target a market’s important, unmet outcomes. ... Read More

Are You Squandering R&D Resources?

Squandered Research and Development

Most B2B companies waste millions of dollars in failed product development. This often isn’t because their scientists can’t come up with good answers… but rather they’re working on the wrong questions. Good customer insight lets you move into the Non-Obvious zone, working on customer problems your competitors miss. ... Read More

Awkward Reality #70

B2B companies should have two VOC objectives, while B2C companies have but one.

70 Engaging Customers

B2C companies seek to understand customer needs. B2B companies should do this and engage customers, priming them to buy later. If you interview ten customers that represent 20% or 50% of the market segment’s buying power, wouldn’t it be an incredible waste if you failed to engage these companies… so they wanted to work with you?

More in article, The Missing Objective in B2B VOC (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Awkward Reality #69

Measure intermediate innovation performance… not just ultimate metrics like new sales.

69 Measure Innovation Performance

When you turn up your thermostat, the temperature rises to the set point and quickly shuts off your furnace. Imagine if you had an 8-hour “feedback loop” before your furnace got the message. Even if you try new VOC approaches in the front end—but all your metrics occur after product launch—your feedback loop takes years. That’s no way to improve, is it?

More in article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

What is New Product Blueprinting?

What is New Product Blueprinting

With New Product Blueprinting, you use creative foresight and a detailed plan for new product development… similar to an architect’s planning before breaking ground. The process includes 7 steps: 1) market research, 2) Discovery interviews, 3) Preference interviews, 4) side-by-side testing, 5) product objectives, 6) technical brainstorming, and 7) business case. ... Read More

Awkward Reality #68

Heaven save us from the “value proposition workshop.”

68 Value Proposition Wordsmithing

I am sometimes asked to do a workshop on developing value propositions. I say, “Not unless you invite your customers to it.” Seriously, suppliers already spend far too much time guessing what customers want. Why try to legitimize this innovation malpractice by creating and word-smithing value proposition statements internally?

More in article, The Science behind Great Value Propositions (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Generate Powerful New Product Ideas

Bright Idea Lightbulb

Use these 5 tactics to improve your solution brainstorming: 1) Begin with a problem to be solved. 2) Embrace two distinct phases of divergence and convergence. 3) Schedule for adequate time. 4) Choose a diverse team. 5) Conduct pre-session training. Then move on to 5 “advanced” tactics. ... Read More