Process or Vision: What’s More Important for Product Innovation Success?

right-left-brainListen closely and you realize there is a lively debate between those who believe process is most important in innovation and others who contend that vision and creativity are what leads to success. The truth is that both are equally important and organizations interested in improving their ability to innovate must do both well.  Continue reading

The Dirty Little Secret: It’s Not About Your Product

BlindersManufacturing firms tend to focus on their products. In fact, we often fall in love with them. It consumes most of our time at work, and for many in the business, much of their time away from the office as well. We celebrate big orders and naively assume the good times will last forever. Elaborate marketing campaigns tout the benefits of our product vs. competitive offerings. We obsess on how to continually improve the product to out-do our competition. So what’s the problem, you ask?  Continue reading

Small to Mid-Sized Manufacturing Firms: Unique Innovation Challenges

If 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

Ignoring the Role of Innovation: A Disturbing Trend?

There 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? Surprisingly, a recent survey suggests many are.  Continue reading

Aligning Manufacturing and R&D in New Product Development (NPD)

New product development (NPD) is about creating knowledge resulting in new products that drive revenue and earnings growth. It is arguably the most important business process and one of the most difficult to manage (1). Why? Because it encompasses a series of workflow, information and decision flow across the entire organization. It is unique as well since every other process in the business can be driven to maximum efficiency. NPD is not just about efficiency, which often is the focus.  The real concern should be how to make it more effective.  Continue reading