The primary challenge for their innovation teams, according to the Innovation head of a Fortune 50 corporation, is to consciously engage the bosses at the front end of the project. The bosses sign off on initial costs and then when things progress to the stage of making prototypes and trial production- the bosses suddenly wake up. “I never realized that there are such big costs involved,down the line…” is a common refrain.
No junior or middle manager would like to admit that they have a problem when faced with a new B2B solution that has the potential to vastly improve efficiency or reduce cost. Such an admission involves potentially admitting that the manager is not doing her job. The risks seem just too much with a new supplier, legacy systems and the fear of the unknown. A classic case of marketers trying to promote value as buyers try to reduce risk. And we are not just referring to purchasing and supply management folk- but the potential users of the new product that the marketers is trying to convince in the buying center.
Product protocol also called product definition, product requirements or product deliverables is critical to innovation. A product protocol is necessary after you have chosen a new product concept, completed concept testing and done some preliminary sales forecasting of what numbers you expect to sell and at what margins.
Avoiding the Inventor’s bias in Concept Testing for New Products is really important. You are an inventor (or the NPD team in a large company) who has come up with a great product idea, clearly there is market need and the idea is pretty clear. You can easily start production, maybe a prototype locally and then large scale globally sourced production at low cost. But please pause and take a deep breath…..
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:
Qualitative Goals in the Product Innovation Charter (PIC) are vital and more important than quantitative goals in the PIC.
Organizations of all types seem to be muddling through because of an inability of two purposes of management (a) Defining your mission and (b) Set up execution routines and people; that deliver that mission.
It is important to articulate your organization’s goals of innovation in your Product Innovation Charter (PIC). Your goals can be both quantitative and qualitative and they need to clearly stated so that the innovation team has a way of evaluating their own progress. And you ( the CxO) have a clear way of evaluating ideas that are presented.
Product Innovation Charters (PIC’s), still tend to be defined around whatever industry or product the organization operates in. Thus, if you make cars and are trying to innovate to the next model your entire focus on building up the PIC is based on the existing car and its technical specs like mileage,technology, space,speed and so on. By just staying with this “internal” focus innovators make a big mistake.
Divisions or SBU’s should have Product Innovation Charter (PIC) that comes with a time limit or expiration date. In a highly cited research paper Galunic and Eisenhardt (2001) mention that a manager interviewed at the SBU level who suggested that the time dependent nature of the PIC is a critical characteristic of a good PIC. The PIC is a statement of innovation goals that specifies the market segment and customer need and the task the New Product Development (NPD) team is charged with.