Defining New Products: The Product Definition Decision Model™ Helps Guide the Process

Is creating a written product definition document before starting development on a new product at odds with the lean methodologies that emphasize “fail fast, fail cheap” as a way to allow a product definition to emerge? A recent article proposed that indeed this is not the case (1). This article will expand on that concept and introduce the Product Definition Decision Model™ as a way to guide product definition.  Continue reading

Is Fully Defining a New Product at Odds with a “Minimum Viable Product”?

A recent article focused on the number one problem in new product development: too many projects for the available development resources (1). In that article, one of the prescriptions proposed was to resist the temptation for the scope of a project to expand. Scope creep not only impacts that specific project but the entire project portfolio because of resource dependencies. Continue reading

The Biggest Challenge in Product Innovation May Surprise You

overloadAsk senior executives at manufacturing firms what their biggest challenge is managing new product innovation and you might hear answers such as lack of creative thinking, development teams need to work harder, or maybe that the organization does not have the right skill sets. The truth might surprise you: consistently year-in and year-out, the single biggest pain point in managing product innovation is too many projects for available development resources.  Continue reading

Small to Mid-Sized Manufacturing Firms: Unique Innovation Challenges

SMEIf you operate a small to mid-sized manufacturing enterprise (SME), how are you going to grow revenue and earnings? Every company relies on organic growth of their core products. For most that is typically not enough to sustain the business long term. Geographic expansion and acquisitions can help in some circumstances but long-term, a company must innovate or the business will stagnate and be eclipsed by competitive forces. This is especially true in today’s hyper-competitive environment (1).  Continue reading

Your Innovation Coach: A Unique Subscription Service

Brands IC LogoThere are many paths to grow a company’s revenue and earnings. That topic typically consumes the majority of management bandwidth. Organic market growth, geographic expansion and acquisitions are all viable strategies. But are you ignoring the role of innovation? Continue reading

A 5-Step Approach to Reduce Time-to-Market

faster

This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared in South Carolina Manufacturing

Getting products to market faster is a common objective for every company. While the motivation varies, there are clear benefits including capturing more sales, beating competition to market, providing market flexibility and maintaining a leadership position. Reducing time-to-market can also be a focal point for improving the overall innovation management process (1).  Continue reading

Understanding Risk in Medical Device New Product Development (NPD)

risk_managementNew product development (NPD) consists of workflow, decision and information flow across multiple functions in an organization. Managing and mitigating risk for each project and the entire portfolio of projects is an essential management activity during NPD. A company’s ability to understand and manage risk can mean the difference between financial success and disaster. In developing products for the medical device industry, meeting FDA requirements presents an additional risk factor not found in other industries. This article will address three important sources of risk in developing products for the medical device industry and suggestions on how to manage. There will also be an opportunity to register for an upcoming free webinar that will provide additional information. Continue reading

Online Portfolio Management Tool: A Case Study

LogoFor any size business that undertakes multiple simultaneous projects, the ability to manage the project portfolio is a constant struggle (1). Think about what happens at most companies, large and small: over time, more projects get started before existing projects are complete, and new ideas become higher priority. Engineers are expected to work on not just one or two projects, which is ideal, but now must multi-task across multiple projects. On top of that, important customers demand new software features or enhancements to existing products or services, further diluting the focus on current projects. Statements like “every project seems to be late, never early”, “we always underestimate project cycle time” and “we constantly pull team members from a project to fix high priority customer requests” are common, especially in small to mid-sized firms. There are simply too many projects for too few resources, and the system grinds to halt. This article will describe a simple-to-use, cost effective online portfolio management tool.  Continue reading

Innovate Your Innovation Process

innovateAre you a small to mid-sized (SME) manufacturing company with a singular focus on understanding your customer needs, providing superior products to meet those needs and growing your revenue and earnings? It goes without saying that for every company, these goals should and do consume significant management bandwidth. The problem is that most organizations become too inwardly focused (1). They do not consider what might be happening outside their company, and even beyond their industry, and leverage that knowledge to create new customer value. This has driven the popularity of the concept of “open innovation”. Maybe we should extend the concept of open innovation to other important aspects of a business such as the innovation management process. Why not, in other words, “innovate your innovation process” by learning from others? Continue reading

Assessing Your New Product Development (NPD) Process

continuous learningFor anyone responsible for managing a new product development (NPD) process, continually assessing your process and learning from other’s experiences is a must. These whitepapers available at no charge cover a wide range of topics including the role of management in NPD success, metrics, project definition, portfolio management and online tools, project risk, among others.   Continue reading