Breaking through Barriers
Business leaders are beginning to focus more on execution than on process. This means taking faster actions with less emphasis on outdated controls. But how do we do that without risking what we have today?
We don’t eliminate process; we transform existing processes into faster, more flexible, and easier to implement growth opportunities.
The problem is that, in many of these same companies, barriers have become deeply entrenched and must be destroyed before or while engaging a new innovation model. The most effective barrier-busting weapon is embracing Market-Driven Innovation. Market-Driven Innovation is based on a proven set of principles:
- Engineering/technical resourcing decisions made based on a validated market need and an attractive business case
- Organizational focus achieved from understanding market segments and targeting the most attractive segments for growth
- A cross-functional team approach: marketing, technical, and sales all contribute to the growth initiative together, and thus are aligned on the strategy:
- Accelerated ramp-up after launch from a higher operational knowledge of the market
- Accelerated technology development because better design specifications from a segmented market
- A strategy driven by business leaders who make resource allocation decisions consistent with the strategic direction of the business, and link development to marketing process
Remold Your Business; Reignite Your Growth Engine
Leaders must change their “mindset” to empower and enable the organizational change; provide the right “skillset” for their teams; and give them the “toolset” required for effective market-driven learning. In most cases, the core potential already exists, so there is no need to start over; you just need to remold into a learning organization. There are five things to do first:
- Redefine and re-prioritize project charters that meet the requirements of speed, agility, and simplicity. Requirements are business and industry specific. There is no generic.
- Obtain the market analytics before engaging the teams in product development. Using the right toolset, cuts this time down to less than two months, and saves several months of wasted development time.
- Utilize both your marketing and technical people in the voice of customer effort and demand their aligned agreement on any proposal to move to the development stage. If they can’t align, then kill the project.
- Obtain clarity on the development design based on marketplace specifications. Design may be different for different segments – don’t compromise on design.
- Begin the launch analysis in parallel to the development cycle. Since you have done the VOC using the right toolset, you already know enough to position, price, and segment. You also should have a good sense of your route to market.
Follow these steps and you can change Speed, Agility, and Simplicity into something more than buzzwords and reignite your growth machine – even in an economic downturn.
About the Author
Ron Sullivan is a Senior Partner at Breakthrough Marketing Technology. He has worked with many businesses on innovation, new product development processes, strategy, building new business models, channels and distribution, and pricing optimization. He has significant expertise in study design, data analysis, and market intelligence.