Why would a company ever want to be a fast follower? I can only think of one reason: They want to reduce commercial risk, by coat-tailing a competitor’s market success. After all, fast-followers don’t reduce technical risk. This only increases, given the need to work around competitive patents. With B2B markets, you can eliminate most commercial risk through B2B-optimized voice-of-customer interviews. (See e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B.) Turns out the fast-follower strategy is a misguided strategy for B2B.
More in article, Chasing the Fast Follower Myth
When you finish the front-end of innovation, you may have plenty of technical risk ahead. But you can examine B2B customer outcomes at nine levels, and gain an incredible understanding of the customer’s world. Done well, your commercial risk should be negligible when you enter the development stage.
More in white paper, Timing is Everything (page 6).
It’s risky to incrementalize… but “great hope” projects often absorb huge resources and end with a whimper. What’s the answer? Get out more. Spend more time in customers’ worlds to reduce commercial risk. And reduce technical risk through open innovation, tapping into external technologies. You can’t thrive today without external insight. (Hmmm… “exsight”?)
More in article, The Commodity Death Spiral (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).