NPD legend Bob Cooper isn’t impressed with your innovation efforts

cooper-teachesMost folks know Dr. Robert G. Cooper as a pioneering leader of innovation and one of the key figures responsible for bringing discipline to New Product Development by popularizing the Stage-Gate process used around the world.  With his vast experience closely observing innovation performance across several industries, he sees many companies falling into the same ruts, producing the same product improvements, extensions and modifications that don’t create the growth that they hunger for.

Traveling the world helping companies jumpstart their innovation engines to be bolder, larger-scope and with game-changing appeal to customers, Dr. Cooper says companies can reinvent their approach to innovation by focusing on the following:

  • To succeed in bigger, bolder innovation, you need a product innovation and technology strategy – a strategy that focuses your business’s R&D efforts on the most attractive arenas – the engines of growth for the future.
  • People working in the right climate is also vital to success – this means having the right climate and culture for innovation, an appetite to invest in innovative and more risky projects, a team-based organizational design and the right leadership from the top.
  • Big ideas lead to big concepts and big solutions. Dr. Cooper’s benchmarking studies have identified 10 proven ways to create big innovation ideas.
  • Driving these large-scope and risky projects through the fuzzy front end, into development, and finally to market means that you need a robust and efficient idea-to-launch system that is designed to handle these major, “big concept” ideas and projects – a rapid, flexible, adaptive and agile development gating system.
  • Weak business cases, no appetite for investment in riskier projects, and relying on the wrong project selection criteria kills more bold innovation than any other single cause! So picking the winners and building robust business cases for ambitious concepts is key to success

Does this ring true with your experience?  Many companies say all the right things about taking their products to the next level, but often fall flat in their execution.  Failing at the big scale goals often result in the organization falling back to where they are comfortable, and continuing to lament their lack of bolder innovation, thus creating a vicious cycle of risk aversion.  Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.




Jay Rogers on Leveraging the Crowd in Co-Creation

jay_rogersCoDev2013 is just around the corner and we are excited to continue to share some of the insights and expertise of our conference faculty with you as we prepare this important annual forum.

Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors, is helping to build a game-changing American car company. In his keynote address at CoDev2013, he will be discussing how Local Motors has radically shifted product design, development and manufacturing in the auto industry through crowdsourcing and pure co-creation efforts.  We catch up with Jay to find out the key steps in leveraging the crowd in co-creation.

CoDev2013:  How does your open innovation strategy intersect with your innovation process?

Rogers: Open innovation is our innovation process. It is at the heart of everything we do; allowing us to reach that next-level of product design, development and production at a pace of up to10x faster than traditional models.

CoDev2013:  What are the key differences between leveraging a crowd vs. traditional, more closed processes?

Rogers: It gives us a broader situational awareness than traditional processes; allowing us to take the production constraints into consideration as part of the development challenge, providing a path to production that is both more pragmatic, faster. Additionally, it enables the involvement of all the different stakeholders helping to prevent the ‘not invented here’ syndrome that can come from the use of external services to drive or support what are perceived as internal or traditional processes.

CoDev2013: What one piece of advice would you give to someone that is trying to champion disruptive innovation through their corporate immune system?

RogersIt may sound counterintuitive to being disruptive, but I would advise to emphasize the key similarities to traditional systems as much as the differences. Current processes have been thought about and developed over the past hundred years or more arguably, and they have some very good elements. Project Management and Team Management methodologies, for example, have come a long way through the first, second and now third industrial revolutions. It would be wrong to totally divorce yourself from these techniques in the name of disruptive innovation.

Leveraging a crowd is a great way to gain early adopters and advance disruptive ideas while still trying to maintain good practice in these areas.

CoDev2013: How do you explain the reluctance of “corporate” innovation to embrace crowd-powered innovation?

Rogers:  Companies usually worry about using crowd development because they see a great lack of control. They worry that they won’t know the people, or they won’t be able to validate the material, and so on. It’s important to recognize and understand that these same risks exist in traditional corporate R&D departments as well.

The Product Development Butterly Effect – How Everyday Design Decisions Affect Bottom Line Profits

butterflyeffectIt seems that everyone has been talking about customer value and design to cost for years, yet few companies are satisfied that their efforts in either process translate directly to higher profits. One reason is that the two processes have been kept at arm’s-length from each other while designers have been in the dark about how their everyday decisions affect the final product’s price. It’s time to both update and to get real about integrating the price and cost sides of the profit equation in product development. This webinar is designed for Marketing and R&D leaders who are tired of hoping for better margins and are ready to take control of them.

Led by Wayne Mackey, principal at Product Development Consulting, Inc., this free, on-demand webinar will begin by resetting our past understanding of customer value using a simple but effective tool to gain insights into the distinction between what customers want and what customers will pay for. We then outline the progression of design for gross margin building blocks from business needs through market insights and platform strategies, ending in higher margin product realization. We will conclude with highlights from a B to B case study with specific examples of bottom line results. If you’re tired of hoping that your company’s innovation platitudes and buzzwords will make a measurable difference in your P&L, this webinar is your first step to proactively ensuring that it does.

To watch this free webinar (no registration required) – CLICK HERE

For more information on Wayne’s upcoming workshop, click the banner below:


King Solomon’s Digital Data Mine: The Industrial Internet

industrial-internetIf corporations can be people, then certainly all non-living objects can have their own email addresses, facebook pages and even twitter accounts?  If you think I’m not serious then you’ve probably not heard about the new/old Internet, the one that’s for “everything.”  It’s also referred to as the “industrial Internet.”  What could companies hope to find there?  Hopefully the start of a brand new goldrush in data mining and a source of entrepreneurial inspiration that has gone missing in the current weak economy and the wane of the first human Internet age.

General Electric is one such corporate person attempting to spark the next industrial revolution by trying to leverage the Internet superpower of “information convenience” on tasks that are typically ignored or previously too complex to manage, such as windmill blade speeds and hospital bed allocation.  GE is your typical aging conglomerate, an essential source of fundamental human needs such as electricity, transportation and medical technology, whose footprints can cast huge shadows on the entire planet.  In areas where 1% improvements mean millions of dollars, it makes sense to push hard to create the next future of interconnected, data generating everything where no object is safe from being tagged a live node.

Recent articles on GE’s “Industrial Internet” commitment: