Innovation: Product Innovation Charter (PIC) contents

Earlier posts discussed  Do you have a Product Innovation Charter (PIC)?,From Product Innovation Charter to the Product Protocol,Innovation: Product Innovation Charter (PIC) helps prevent scope creep in technology and market. This post is about what the PIC contains.Research suggests that there are three broad topics that the PIC must address viz. Focus, Objectives and Guidelines.Keep in mind that the PIC is a document put together by the top management after which the innovation team or NPD (New Product Development) team is left free to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions. The PIC should contain the Focus, Objectives and Guidelines:

  • The Focus of the organization should be on what it has competitive advantage in, If your company has great skill in, let us say, doing great electrical design it’s a good idea to mention clearly that you want to focus on electrical design. Why? Those who are not in your industry can argue that it’s easy to hire electrical engineers or for that matter any other engineers and quickly build expertise. Not so, because not only do experienced engineers come up with designs but also are able to anticipate any manufacturability problems that might come up. In fact, institutional knowledge like which supplier can we depend on to come up with a quick prototype, can be enormously benefit.
  • Objectives are after you have defined the focus that is based on your organization’s core competence  as above. Objectives could be the famous GE dictum of trying to be no. 1 or 2 in any market at the time of Jack Welch. Apparently, managers started defining markets very narrowly and thus got the illusory feeling that their efforts were really successful. Thus if you are in ther burger market you can define the market by single cheese burger a  double cheese burger. If your single cheese burger is no. 1, it’s great to say “We are no. 1 in single cheese burgers.” However, if you want to assess your position among all burgers, your position might not be no. 1, allowing for more progress to be made.
  • Guidelines again leave the NPD team with a stronger sense of purpose. The guidelines are no longer about the core competence that sort of look at the SWOT of the team. Now guidelines include overall directions about profit margins (e’g.  no projects below 10% return) , The guidelines might also include early action on filing patents or include specific instruction to pursue patentable ideas.

For leaders,just spending less than an hour with the NPD team can answer many of  their concerns and questions about the PIC. Doing so early and frequently allows a huge amount of  feedback and clarity on the final PIC document that can be used by multiple NPD teams.

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