In my last blog post, I talked about the six principles of leading market-driven innovation. But what good are those principles without the right mindset?
Creating the Right Mindset
Creating the right mindset begins with leadership behavior and that suggests that managers must examine how they lead and not how they manage. Leaders drive the work; managers work the process.
Unfortunately, with the birth of Stage-Gate, leaders have found themselves in the role of judging the innovation work of those in their organization. Instead of leading, they hold court over the various teams’ work. Inadvertently, the process which was originally touted as accelerating product development actually extends the development period. As one project leader put it, “We spent more time setting meeting dates into the future and then with delays from rescheduling the gate process took more time than the actual team work.”
Leadership owns and thus leads their market driven innovation effort. There are few things leaders must do:
- Demonstrate the value for the innovation and set expectations
- Focus and align the organization around the critical work to be done
- Keep the project on schedule
- Drive to closure either commercialization if warranted or kill the project
That means leaders must first sort out what marketing and technical practitioners should do differently, and most importantly, identify how each of these groups can work together to build and use a rigorous framework—from concept selection to offering commercialization—to maximize results.
We call this “Accelerated Development,” which differs from the traditional New Product Development processes in many ways. The key differentiator is that once a project is commissioned, it moves without disruption into commercialization. This means
- Project scope and a set time for completion. Plan is built around these parameters
- A streamlined approach to move through the steps with “quality” designed in from the start is agreed upon across functional leadership and their teams
- A dedicated project leader and team skilled to execute the total project burden
- An agreed upon budget necessary to effectively complete the work successfully
Learn more about accelerated development. Read my blog post “Accelerated Development – Accelerate Your Business.”
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.