Who is responsible for drafting the Product Innovation Charter (PIC)? Is a question that innovative companies have. Well, the answer is that you must have a person at the CxO level who is the individual charged with developing the PIC. Here are some examples in say a manufacturing context:
- A new equipment acquisition decision: You might not think of this as an innovation. But let us say the company has ongoing customers and are thinking about changing to manufacturing equipment that is more energy efficient, has less effluents and reduces wastage and improves product quality. Here the Chief Production/Manufacturing manager should be responsible for drafting the PIC. Why? Because when it is drafted … you can expect the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) to ask whether the new equipment can do widget X which the old equipment could not. This way the boundaries of the new acquisition will get well defined and the PIC will require a marketing member’s inputs. OK this is not a new product for the firm’s customers directly but it can have a huge impact if the right decisions are made from a final product innovation (widget X) point of view.
- Think of an ERP system: The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) should be framing this PIC because Marketing might have questions about integrating CRM via mobile, Supply Chain might ask about capabilities to do Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) of outgoing shipments and HR and the safety folks might wonder if the ERP system being acquired allows for mobile applications for shop floor safety checks. Again, not a direct product innovation but something that can have a great impact on the enterprise as a whole and how innovations are executed.
- New Products that face customers: For new products that face customers … like a Widget X , the folks who should be writing the PIC and getting the C-Suite to sign off is the Marketing and Sales Chief Officer. Why? Because policy on market facing innovations must be framed and negotiated by marketing. As indicated in an earlier post CMO’s feel that they should be spending 80% of their time with customers and only 20% internally. Not so, because it is the internal organization that is able to deliver and its really important to get buy in, processes in place for a botched launch of a poorly executed concept will have displeased customers and no repeat customers. And its repeat customers that keep business thriving.
To summarize, the PIC should be written and championed by a CxO whose performance is measured on the outcome and success of the PIC. OK you may not call it a PIC for getting a new ERP system but the principles of bringing co-operation across functions to serve customers better is the idea here. And best of all, it helps when CxO’s sign off on the PIC or are mentioned in CxO meeting minutes to have approved it. The operational innovation team has much more legitimacy and clout to pull cross-disciplinary folks together. About StratoServe.