Timing is Everything: Exposing Deep Flaws in B2B Innovation Today

When most companies ask themselves three “timing questions,” they realize their B2B innovation is terribly supplier-centric. This will change, especially for leading B2B companies. Instead of resolving commercial risk in the product launch phase—when they become certain of success or failure—they’ll build a “Certainty Time Machine” to resolve this risk before they begin product development. They will move to a higher innovation maturity level and begin using B2B-optimized divergent and convergent voice-of-the-customer methods.

Tired of testing market needs by launching products at customers? Fed up with misguided B2B innovation that squanders R&D resources on products customers don’t want? It may be “time” to download the white paper, Timing is Everything.

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Preview: Timing is Everything: Exposing Deep Flaws in B2B Innovation Today

How’s your com¬pany’s timing when it comes to applying your B2B innovation to new products and services? Your answers to three “timing tests” will reveal much about your current innovation maturity level:

  1. Whose ideas do you start with… yours or your customers’?
  2. When do you resolve a project’s commercial risk?
  3. Whose timing triggers a new-product project… yours or the markets?

If your answers are “our ideas, launch stage, and our timing,” your B2B innovation is supplier-centric. If you could say, “customers’ ideas, front-end stage, and market timing,” your company’s B2B innovation would be customer-centric… a much higher innovation maturity level.
Eventually, all B2B companies will need to employ customer-centric innovation in order to thrive, or perhaps even survive. If you become customer-centric with everyone else in 20-30 years, you’ll reap no competitive advantage. Adopt customer-centric innovation and increase your B2B innovation maturity level now to be¬come an organic growth machine.
You can understand your company’s current innovation maturity level by considering which of these levels best describes your B2B innovation today:

Level 1—Solution Push: We start with our ideas and launch solutions we think customers will want.

Level 2—Solution Validation: We start with our ideas and interview customers to “validate” our solutions.

Level 3—Market Insight: We start with customer needs using divergent and convergent interviews.

Level 4—Market Scouting: We monitor markets to detect rising customer needs at an early point.

What innovation maturity level should you target? For most companies the answer is Level 3. If your B2B innovation starts with customer needs instead of your solution, you’ll reap impressive benefits. Why is this so important for B2B suppliers? Your B2B customers have high levels of knowledge, interest, objectivity, and foresight. When you start your B2B innovation with your ideas, you abandon all these advantages.

For more, see the 2-min video, Make your sales force a ‘learning force’, part of Dan Adams’ series of 50 (free) 2-min videos, B2B Organic Growth.

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