Innovation and Product management


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Innovation and Product management

  1. 1. Managing New Products and Innovation real-life lessons from running a venture and corporate lab Vishy Poosala Founder & CTO –, Head of Bell Labs – India Sept, 2008
  2. 2. Topics covered managing innovation within organizations; applying innovation to new products generating product roadmaps, involving customers in evolving go-to-market strategies; securing innovation With the backdrop of Geopepper case study
  3. 3. .. Like Fish need water <ul><li>Every organization needs to innovate or it will perish . </li></ul><ul><li>Entrepreneur: You need that differentiator, especially if you are not the first. </li></ul><ul><li>Corporations: Have to constantly fight the entrepreneurs in a garage plotting to kill your business. </li></ul><ul><li>Fight hard against going after safe directions. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Innovation: Doing something NEW Business Product
  5. 5. Managing / Encouraging innovation in companies <ul><li>“it’s in the genes” </li></ul><ul><li>“it can not be taught in a classroom” </li></ul>? <ul><li>“ it can be put in a manual” </li></ul><ul><li>“ it can be presented in this talk” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Riding Horses to Innovation You can’t make the horse drink, but you CAN lead it to the water.
  7. 7. Our case study: / an Alcatel-Lucent Venture from Bell Labs Geographic Messaging Service (GMS) Deliver content around where you are. Innovations: World was doing PULL. We enabled PUSH. SMS  MMS  GMS
  8. 8. Leading to innovation: Team <ul><li>90%  Hire the right stars; 10%  Create the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Team work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing big gets done individually (mostly). So learn to love your team. Write limericks? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mix them up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>expertise in software, mathematics, networks, human factors, cynic, optimist </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t pigeonhole people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Test lead has become our lead AJAX guru developer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Passionately believe in what you are trying to do (or don’t do it) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Belief that GMS could become as wide as SMS </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Leading to innovation: Environment <ul><li>Focus on the workspace </li></ul><ul><ul><li>moved from office rooms into a common lab </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep it casual, PLAY, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ping pong, barbecues, treasure hunts, free food </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get outside, Recognize problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brainstorm freely </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Takes notes. Encourage disagreements. Walk out with a conclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expect and Recognize mistakes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What did we get right the first time? (answer: only the team) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Leading to innovation: Organization <ul><ul><li>Create fast tracks for disruptive innovations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ventures division, tiger teams </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kill all signs of hierarchy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Founder just means that he got suckered in from Day 1  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stay fresh </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entrepreneur bootcamps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bring in the young and the restless on open days </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. .. But stay focused on the goal <ul><li>Too many ideas acted upon will distract. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn to kill ideas that don’t matter </li></ul><ul><li>Even innovation can be mostly put on a plan and tracked </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ops reviews, project plans, success metrics, tracking, CUSTOMERS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Controlled Chaos </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Involve customers from Day 1
  13. 13. Get Real about your Customers <ul><li>KNOW who your customer is (like, name, address, face, issues) </li></ul><ul><li>Observe them in real life </li></ul><ul><li>Create use cases. Very detailed. With names of real people against it. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to them. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Customer is your partner from Day 0 <ul><li>In concept stage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus groups even before the product concept is finalized </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Product roadmapping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a customer or customer proxy on the team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best is if YOU are a likely customer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Testing </li></ul><ul><li>Viral, social marketing </li></ul>
  15. 15. Prototype. Junk it. Then prototype again. Ad infinitum. <ul><li>Launch a prototype within the first quarter to team and friends </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LISTEN </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Launch another prototype to friends of friends. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They love you less. LISTEN more carefully.  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Launch a public prototype. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Act on EVERY customer request and feedback. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But don’t always think they will tell you everything. Use your intuition. </li></ul>
  16. 16. A-B-Cs of Product Roadmapping <ul><li>A: Can’t drive the car without it </li></ul><ul><li>B: Would consider paying for that A/C </li></ul><ul><li>C: Will take it if it’s free </li></ul>
  17. 17. Roadmap: Keep it simple. <ul><li>Feature release, Quarterly release, Major bug fixes, etc etc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do Quarterly releases. At least after your first release. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>AVOID feature creep. Everything takes at least twice longer than you think. </li></ul><ul><li>Document it. Paste it on the wall. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t miss the obvious and the low hanging fruit in the market </li></ul>
  18. 18. New product introduction: Pick up Geoffrey Moore’s first book 
  19. 19. Securing innovation <ul><li>Don’t talk too much. Do it. [it’s very hard to shut up when you know a secret!] </li></ul><ul><li>File for a provisional patent as early as you can [$100] </li></ul><ul><li>File for all worthy patents. Even if only for defensive purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t innovate just for the sake of innovation or patents. FOCUS on business and customer needs </li></ul>
  20. 20. Case Study of an Internal Venture <ul><li>T0: Idea for a sensor-based disaster detection and geographic alerting system (!) </li></ul><ul><li>2: Idea for a geographic alerting system [Be realistic and Start simple. Simple is already too much]. Technical challenges and solutions identified. </li></ul><ul><li>4: Idea and biz case for a geographic mobile marketing application . Venture is funded. </li></ul><ul><li>5: Recruited the core team . Identify remote partners. Move to a lab. </li></ul><ul><li>6: First prototype . Mad dash to lab at night to reboot a PC. Demo kinda works. </li></ul><ul><li>8: Idea changes to Social networking </li></ul><ul><li>10: First social networking app Alpha launch. 60 users. They get it but not really </li></ul><ul><li>12: Professional graphics , re-architeted system, launch to the world. </li></ul><ul><li>14: Idea broadens to platform </li></ul><ul><li>16: Launch 2 award winning apps with REAL customers </li></ul><ul><li>18: Keeping it THAT innovative and dynamic will be an even bigger challenge next </li></ul>
  21. 21. Lessons <ul><li>Great team . Rather, great individuals who grew into a great team. </li></ul><ul><li>Office room to Lab had huge impact on communications </li></ul><ul><li>First idea usually sucks in retrospect. Change . </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize when you are drinking too much of your own kool-aid and listen to bad news </li></ul><ul><li>Patent everything, but build too </li></ul><ul><li>Prototype from Day 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Involve customers from Day 0 </li></ul><ul><li>Have FUN creating something NEW and NEVER ignore your gut feeling. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Recommended reading <ul><li>Inside Steve’s Brain </li></ul><ul><li>The art of innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Crossing the chasm </li></ul><ul><li>Calvin & Hobbes </li></ul><ul><li>Innovator’s dilemma and solution </li></ul><ul><li>Iving Stone’s bio of Michelangelo </li></ul><ul><li>Patent it Yourself (NOLO) and Patent Pending in 24 hrs </li></ul>