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If there's one specific phase of the innovation lifecycle that will ensure failure if it's not done correctly, it is understanding market needs. Without that context, you might develop an innovative product yet not be commercially successful. And no one in this new innovation economy can afford a 'miss'.
As we continue our poll series to understand the priorities and challenges that product executives face, I wanted to share the results from the third poll. Like our first two polls, this poll was also focused on the ideation phase and the challenges faced. There were again over 200 responses representing a solid cross-section of product management, sales, marketing and development roles across all types of industries and geographies.
The question was: What is your biggest challenge in the capture and management of product ideas
At first glance, the results seemed ‘ho-hum’ with an even split in the top two responses. But as I dug deeper, some interesting insights emerged:
About 40 percent of large companies mentioned that ‘Sharing and Collaborating on New Ideas’ was their biggest challenge.
My take: While I am not surprised overall given the ‘siloed’ approach in most companies today in generating and translating winning ideas into profitable products, that is still a staggering number. I think the problem is not generating those ideas per-se given all the community solutions we have today. The fact is that a customer need doesn't specify the capabilities of a product. It is basically a problem that could be solved in a multitude of ways. Product requirements then need to be created to address the customer need in a specific way. That is where the process breaks down when it comes to linking the two items together. Top innovators centrally manage this information so it can be accessed by anyone in the organization. This is critical as larger development projects are often executed on a globally distributed scale, often with external participants. Central management and repository of these ideas and information allows these distributed stakeholders to collaborate and be aligned with one another from ideas to execution.
About 35 percent of Enterprise companies said that ‘Visibility and Traceability of Ideas’ is where they struggle the most.
My take: This suggests that most companies today have individual solutions for idea management, requirements management and execution reinforcing that information silos contribute to these challenges. By contrast, a solution integrating these functions within a single suite maintains cross-functional insight connecting customer demand, concepts, product requirements, and process execution by development teams. This visibility and traceability enables organizations to draw a firm connection between what their customers want and the new products and features that are included in their products. As a result, an integrated solution enables organizations to support consistent, incremental innovation in a way that is not possible with a solution that supports only one aspect of the innovation lifecycle.
And on a lighter note, most of us in the age group over 55 believe that sharing and collaborating on anything is far more difficult than the others. Folks, are we really trying or just have gotten to ‘it’s my way or the highway’ for a little too long.
Would love to hear your thoughts on any of the above. Will be back as we continue into our poll season.