Before the issue of balance even comes up, a company must allow sufficient time for what may be the most underrated yet most important part of the innovation process: problem definition. Consider Apple: its genius lies in the ability to get to the heart of a problem and not settle for convoluted solutions until they find, in the late Steve Jobs’ words, "the key, underlying principle of the problem" and then the "beautiful, elegant solution that works.”
Once the problem has been defined and the desired target established, there are two key functions in innovation: brainstorming new ideas, and deciding which of those ideas are worth pursuing.
Your new product: Good concept or great product innovation?
Your New Product: Good Concept or
Great Product Innovation?
(How to Identify the Golden Goose
among the Ugly Ducklings)
What This Discussion Is About
• This presentation is NOT
about product development.
• It IS about how we get from
ideas to concept to product
• Your company sells products.
• Your products are good.
• Your company is profitable.
• A recession hits, and profits shrink.
• Your company’s strategic planning team
decides the company needs to pivot its
strategy for growth.
New Products vs. New Markets
We need to first evaluate how to grow by examining the
product-market expansion grid.
Market Penetration Product Development
Market Development Diversification
Existing Products New Products
• You decide to develop a new product. But how
do you determine which product to develop?
• What is so hard about determining this
The Problem Defined
• How do we identify and prioritize the right mix
of new products to develop?
• Many stage/phase-based processes tell you
what to do AFTER you have determined which
product to develop.
• Multiple Sources of Input
– Internal Stakeholders (Executives, Parent
Company/BOD, Sales force, Engineers, etc.)
– External Stakeholders (Customers, Shareholders,
• Lack of a Reliable Process
• No Crystal Ball
Where To Start?
• Understand the Market
• Innovate Concepts
• Select a Process for Evaluation of Concepts
• Move Forward with Confidence
Step 1 - Understanding the Market
Stefan Thomke – How Can a Company Balance
Creativity and Innovation With the Need for
Process and Structure?
"the key, underlying principle of
the problem" and then the
"beautiful, elegant solution that
Step 2 - Innovate Concepts
How do we generate product ideas through
• Product Concepts:
– Existing (from internal/external sources)
• Need to consolidate concepts
• Ideation: Brainstorming + Wycoff’s Play Theory Thinking
– Divergent – Support, Wander, Associate, Morph, Inquire
– Convergent – Sort, Order, Adapt, Refine, Select
What the Experts Say
Venkatakrishnan Balasubramanian –
Dimensions of the framework for
conceptualizing an idea
The two views of the business model for the idea and the
business strategy of the enterprise combine to give five
important dimensions that an innovator can use to think
through and conceptualize the idea.
1) Competitive Advantage 2) Business Alignment
3) Customers 4) Execution 5) Business Value
Step 3 - The Evaluative Process
– Subjective Approach
• Just Do What Your Boss Asks
• Arbitrary Selection/TIATWASWS
– Objective Approach
• Weighted/Scored Analysis
• Nail It, Then Scale It
• Good to Great
• Optimizing the Stage-Gate Process
Weighted Analysis Scorecard
• Strategic Assessment
• Identify criteria
• Weight criteria
• Score each criterion
• Add up score and compare with other ideas
Nail It Then Scale It
Innovation = The intersection of science and industry.
Good to Great
The Hedgehog Concept = the intersection of what you can
be the best in the world at, what you are deeply
passionate about, and what drives your economic engine.
Step 4 – Move Forward With Confidence
1. Strategy is in place.
2. You’ve listened to the market.
3. You’ve brainstormed ideas for concepts.
4. You’ve introduced a process to evaluate the
5. Now you’re ready to move toward product
development with confidence that your product
will be successful in achieving the goal of
Case Study – The UPS Stores
• Follows a process that is a
combination of the optimized
stage-gate process and
weighted scale analysis.
• Pros – brings objectivity into
the evaluative process, and
the analysis provides rationale
for the go/no-go decision.
• Cons – Insufficient resources
to adequately evaluate the
quantity of concepts,
interference from executive
staff in the process.
Case Study - Apple
• Apple used a market
combined with usability
• At first, they tried a
with Motorola, which
• When they brought the
project in-house and
based the product on
what the market wanted,
Case Study – CB Richard Ellis
• In an off-site strategy
meeting, we conducted a
driven by the Hedgehog
• The participants were
divided into 3 teams for
• Ideas generated were then
Case Study – CB Richard Ellis
The intersection of 3 areas.
What product enhancements
should we pursue?
• Improved customer
• Portfolio data/reporting
• Improved analytics
• Axis Community
• Sustainability module
• Optimal new product introductions will start
with a thorough understanding of the market.
• Ideation and a consolidation of existing ideas
will provide a pool of concepts to consider.
• Select a process for evaluating and scoring the
concepts based on how well a new product
will align with corporate goals and strategy.
• Prioritize projects based on the outcome.