Innovation TIPS


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Product management and the 7 deadly sins when crossing the chasm

Michael Eckhardt described the 7 deadly sins that B2B companies need to avoid in order to accelerate growth for their products and jump the chasm to sell to the early majority. Brian Lawley identified the Target Customer Mixup sin as the most important for product managers to watch out for because you run the risk of only listening to early adopters and forget to focus on the things that will make the product appealing to the early majority. (via @brianlawley)

The importance of understanding the whole product

“Customers rarely know what they really want, although they can be very vocal about what they ‘need’; sales teams are often focused on the last deal they lost or the next deal they’re trying to close, and market intelligence can often be muddied by statements and claims by competitors and thought leaders which can be hard to distinguish marketing spin from product fact.”

In order to address that situation, Cliff Gilley explains why it’s important to understand your organization’s whole product, as originally defined in Geoffrey Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm. “Understanding the “whole product” means having a holistic comprehension about every part of the company that contributes to the success of your engagement with customers.” (via @thecleverpm)

5 Keys to crossing the chasm to mainstream customers

You probably have heard about Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm,” but do you know the key idea from that book for product managers?  It’s all about understanding the differences between early adopters and early majority, and what you need to do to cross the chasm to sell to mainstream customers. Martin Zwilling describes 5 critical points that you need to understand in order to learn from your experience with early adopters and sell effectively to your mainstream customers. Those key points reinforce the importance of feedback, user experience, and treating early adopters with respect. (via @StartupPro)

Products, markets, and crossing the chasm

Hank Barnes highly recommends that you read Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm to get some good ideas on high technology product marketing. He also warns you to be careful when applying the ideas in the book to your situation. “The book is focused primarily on marketing and selling disruptive products, starting by attracting innovators and early adopters and then, hopefully, Crossing the Chasm, to reach the early majority of mainstream customers.” If your product is not disruptive, or your market is an existing one, you may not need to cross the chasm. (via @Barnes_Hank)

Fostering Disruptive Innovation

INDUSTRY alumni speaker Trevor Owens has written a great deal about how an established company can innovate. In this short video, he describes two ways a company can encourage innovation — 1) defining ‘time horizons’ and 2) spurring ‘innovation flow’. Here’s the full slide deck.

How Corporate Antibodies Destroy Innovation

The very nature of an established business is diametrically opposed to the nature of innovation — a growing company’s primary focus is to establish repeatable and scalable procedures. And so instilling innovation inside a large company is naturally going be very hard. Luke Vincent tells a story of how his team followed all the rules in introducing an innovative product only to later be shut down by a single sentence from company leaders.

Lean Innovation Management — Making Corporate Innovation Work

Steve Blank found two strong corporate strategy tools for making innovation work. One, being an ambidextrous company whereby you are both executing your business model while innovating in parallel. And two, using the “Three Horizons of Innovation” framework. Yet, he feels that these methods fall short in giving instruction on execution. He describes how lean startup tools like Customer Development and Agile Engineering can be combined with these tools to get “10x the number of initiatives in 1/5 the time”.

The 5 Requirements of a Truly Innovative Company

Despite companies integrating many of the tools that are recommended to foster innovation — wikis, new idea incubators etc. — “94% of the managers [are] dissatisfied with their company’s innovation performance.” (Report link). The Harvard Business Review team tells us what’s missing, including employees who are not educated to be innovators, a shared definition of innovation, and competent leadership.

The Startup Way

Eric Ries, one of the architects of the Lean Startup movement has authored the book, “The Startup Way“. It promises to guide you through methods of applying startup methods in an established company. He deserves credit, having inspired many modern technology companies to new ways of thinking and ultimately driving many of them to success.

The Next Stage for Stage-Gate

Apparently, the Stage-Gate approach to product development is used by “about three-quarters of product developers in America, most Fortune 500 firms”. When it was first introduced, it promised a leaner and more predictable way to bring products that matter to the market. It’s clearly been successful, but its original author now sees opportunities to improve the system by leveraging new processes like agile development. Here’s a general introduction to the process.