Tony Ulwick on why your new product ideas are basically worthless…


While it’s certainly cliche, it bears repeating the hard truth that ideas are a dime a dozen, but the means to execute them successfully is a rare and often missing element in innovation.  You can also add that the ability to separate the wheat from an enormous volume of chaff, and to tell the pyrite from the real gold, is equal in importance.

In this webinar featuring Strategyn’s Tony Ulwick, author of What Customers Want, he digs a little deeper into why this is so.  With open innovation, Internet punditry, and volumes of customer research science, product developers are awash in idea sources.  With the current computerization and connectivity onslaught in technology (cars for example), plotting the next generation of product features can be a daunting task.  When’s the right time for your clothing line to add GPS functionality?  Should you replace instruction manuals with onboard tutorials?  Which side of the coin will equal market growth and fatter bottom line and which one will cause customers to jump ship to the competition?  The fine line between success and failure can make a wrong step quite costly.

As Tony points out succinctly, what most lack is a logical, metrics-based method for filtering all your best ideas so that you can have confidence to invest in what will have the greatest return.  But this is not as simple as figuring out a customer delighting feature, there are additional strategic considerations where most don’t expand their analysis.  For example, does your idea represent a market that you are positioned to excel in?  Does it fit your company’s overall strategy?  Even the best product ideas may not hold up to important business criteria.

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