Product Strategy and Innovation Blog

The Birth of Predictable Innovation: How to Achieve Profitable Growth Every Time


Surgeons in an operating room. Many benefited from the stent, developed by Cordis through the Outcome-Driven Innovation process and resulting growth strategy.

Early in my career as a product engineer, I experienced the ultimate professional disappointment: for 18 months I put my heart and soul into creating a product that failed in the marketplace.

It was 1984, and I was part of the IBM PCjr development team. We were working on a product that was supposed … Read on

Innovation Excellence – 6 Criteria


Companies often reach out to tell us they are not satisfied with their innovation process. They lack confidence in the offerings they are taking to market and feel they are running out of new ideas for growth. They lament that they have trained people in the latest thinking (e.g., Design Thinking, Human Centered Design…etc.) but that it has not made a measurable impact on their success. They ask, what is wrong with our process? Our question back to them is “how do … Read on

How to Save Design Thinking


Design Thinking is all the rage. It’s cool, it’s hip – it makes the ordinary company feel like Apple. Many companies have rushed to hire people with Design Thinking expertise. They have brought in trainers to train their people to think like Design Thinkers. But Design Thinking has an almost fatal flaw that needs fixing. If not, it will fade away like prior management fads (remember Theory Z). But take heart, there is hope. The roots of Design Thinking started in the … Read on

Scaling Excellence: Go Slow to Go Fast


In their recent book called “Scaling Up Excellence” Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao share a key insight that companies should embrace as they build excellence into their organization: at times, it makes sense to go slow so that in the future a company can go fast. You are probably familiar with this concept from the world of carpentry where the mantra is to “measure twice and cut once”. But in today’s fast-paced world, slowing down seems to be at odds with success. … Read on

Product Managers Are Obsolete; Focus on the Job-to-be-Done


Product Managers are essential to a company’s success. In fact, a recent McKinsey article referred to them as “mini-CEOs” since they are responsible for what is arguably the biggest contributor to a company’s success and growth–its products. While the role of the product manager is critical, we feel that the title “product manager” is a legacy of outdated business thinking. We therefore advocate doing away with the traditional product manager and propose a new title and responsibility. What’s wrong with product managers? The … Read on

Your Market is Bigger Than You Think


  Companies often define the markets they serve around the technology in their product offerings or the products themselves. This is a convenient way to simplify communication to outsiders. It is easy to explain, for example, that your company is in the drivetrain market, or the lithium ion battery market. However for purposes of long-term growth and innovation, this can be a tragic mistake. That’s because technologies come and go and all solutions will one day become obsolete. What will become of … Read on

Jobs-to-be-Done and the Internet of Things


The Internet of Things, according to Wikipedia, allows objects to be sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.  The vision of the Internet of Things has evolved due to a convergence of multiple technologies, including ubiquitous wireless communication, real-time analytics, machine learning, commodity sensors, and embedded systems. By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. How will you and your organization capitalize on this opportunity?… Read on

What Hidden Segments Exist In Your Market?


Market segmentation is a method that companies use to target unique offerings to groups of customers that will value them. Over the years, many methods of market segmentation have been developed and implemented. Qualitative methods, such segmentation based on personas, segment the market using demographic, psychographic, or behavioral categories or stereotypes. Quantitative methods, such as conjoint analysis, aim for greater precision through the use of numerical values and calculations. Unfortunately, nearly all segmentation methods, whether qualitative or quantitative, fail to distinguish between customers with different unmet needs, … Read on

How Should Customer “Needs” Be Defined?


profit share

Companies receive thousands of inputs from their customers every single day. They come from dozens of sources, including social media, the service desk, the sales team, customer advisory boards, and formal qualitative and quantitative research. Companies are not lacking customer insights. If anything, they are overwhelmed with data. Despite these efforts, most companies do not fully understand their customers’ needs. Why does it matter? Take a look at the organization. The marketing team needs to know the customer’s needs in order to … Read on

Bring Markets Into Perfect Focus by Defining Them Around the Customer’s Job-To-Be-Done


Companies often define the markets they serve around the technology in their product offerings… a technology that one day will become obsolete. Clearly, this is a mistake, but it’s one that has been repeated by hundreds of companies over the decades. Where are the companies that defined themselves around CDs? They spiraled to their death when MP3 technology came along. Many companies today find themselves in this same situation.  

ulwick2Image Source: Strategyn

Define your markets around the customer’s job-to-be-done A … Read on
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