Every Upstream Innovation Needs a Downstream Innovation

Or Else There is No Innovation!

Upstream innovations depend on the downstream market for adoption of their innovation. But often, businesses shield upstream innovations from potential adopters for two reasons:

  1. Historical reliance on their channel customers to push the innovation forward
  2. Reluctance to upset their channel customers whom too often they see as their main market

Additionally, channel customers tend to shield their direct customers from suppliers as a mechanism to defend their position and maintain status quo. Knowledge acquisition becomes the primarily tool to drive change.

Organizational Change is the Key to Success

Leadership Mindset

must shift from fulfillment performance to value delivered, often to the end user or even the consumer.

Organizational Skillset

must include training to enhance marketing tools’ capabilities and value chain assessment.

Operational Toolset

must include quantified end user value assessment, as well as channel value-in-use evaluation.

Upstream innovators typically seek the largest downstream user as their target—for the obvious reasons. Instead, they should base their early decision-making on investigation into factors such as value delivered, ease of access, minimum hurdles to communications to adoption, and potential innovation impact. An early win adds credibility to the innovation and as well knowledge of how to move forward into other application markets. Typical tools that accomplish this task are Market Space InvestigationSM (MSI) followed by Rapid Value AssessmentSM (RVA). Leaders are responsible for transforming their organization from a product-driven unit into a market-driven team. Even marginal success warrants the effort to expand capabilities given the future success of demand drivers.
There are three ingredients for success in new product development: leadership mindset, organizational skillset, and operational toolset.

We are happy to explore with how downstream innovation can add value to your business. Leave a comment below, or contact us to learn more.

SM Market Space Investigation and Rapid Value Assessment are service marks of Breakthrough Marketing Technology, LLC.

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