Speeding New Products to Market
As the heart and soul of economic progress, innovation has long heralded greater growth not only for companies, but for nations and individual careers as well.
The ability to repeat a successful innovation model – the holy grail of new product development – confers upon enterprise organizations an important additional benefit: lasting competitive advantage.
The innovation challenge, though, lies not merely in the elusive nature of creativity. Successful innovation within large companies has been trending consistently downward in the 21st century, and according to the Journal of Product Innovation & Management, up to 49% of innovations now fail. It’s illuminating to discover why.
It should not be surprising to learn that new product innovations in many sectors are found to be mostly uninspiring to both consumers and business customers alike. Anyone who has ever encountered a “new and improved” label can attest to the failure of most innovations to deliver a promised benefit or fulfill a relevant human need. Consumers grow skeptical, even cynical, about whether the term “innovative” retains any meaning.
Likewise, products that may in fact deliver real innovation value, but at the cost of exacting too great a behavioral adjustment on the part of the user, are equally doomed to failure. It seems the quest for better value stops at “heavy lifting.”
New product innovations also fail because they simply take too long to reach the marketplace. This trend is particularly costly to product designers in an atmosphere of rapidly evolving consumer need. Yet as the cycle of this need accelerates, the conventional product-to-market cycle slows. Presently, most new products can take 12-36 months to hit the market, by which time the developed product innovation has lost most of its potential to satisfy customers.
Meeting the Product Development Challenge
Understanding the challenge of bringing innovative new products to market requires clarifying the realities that underlie it.
According to Salesforce, 96% of executives cite a lack of collaboration as the main source of workplace failure. Innovation has long been understood to be the product of team effort, relying on peak levels of workforce engagement and collaboration for success. Yet stakeholders have never been more geographically dispersed, an embedded workplace reality that handicaps from the start the kind of fluid collaboration style needed to bring about successful innovation outcomes.
Secondly, this is the era of big data, in which exponentially larger amounts of information drive every innovation decision, and the deluge of data is predicted only to intensify. John E. Kelly III, Vice President of IBM Portfolio Solutions, observed recently, “We are at the beginning of a huge wave of information, and much of that will be highly unstructured, highly noisy. Our ability to analyze it is a huge challenge.”
The final reality underlying negative innovation outcomes has to do with the widespread failure by businesses to recognize the limitations of their own conventional decision-making models.
Innovation problems are complex, and new product solutions tend to address this complexity with an equal and opposite force. Efficiency, though, demands that new product solutions deliver the reverse: simple, universally applicable forms that minimize inevitable production expense and deployment delays.
Achieving this kind of simplicity is, of course, a sophisticated process itself – more complicated, certainly, than an effort merely to devise solutions that mirror a problem’s complexity. This places a great responsibility upon business innovators to transcend traditional, sequential development processes, and to discover faster, parallel, and real-time working processes to simplify the thorny problems of ineffective innovation and faster market cycles.
Powering Innovation via Infopresence
Infopresence is an emergent term born of the recognition that business decisions are driven by data and reached through collaboration. It refers, in particular, to the collective experience of teams being both physically and cognitively immersed in their critical content and data.
The experience of Infopresence has proved revolutionary in its capacity to foster better group decision-making. Teams, whether working together in a room or across locations, benefit from being fully surrounded by and engaged in a data and collaboratively rich environment.
Data from dispersed and disparate sources – laptops, tablets, phones – is mutually visible and shareable across the many surfaces that surround the work group. It is this immersive and fluid access to information that deepens group cognition and facilitates the collective ability to see, feel, and think differently about the very data which heretofore yielded little insight.
Perhaps most disruptive to conventional collaboration models is the ability of this technology to transform a sequential innovation and decision-making process into parallel working processes through this radical shift of perspective. Immersive, spatial visualization of previously siloed data streams engages teams more quickly, easily, and effectively, simultaneously animating group creativity while coaxing meaning from masses of undifferentiated data.
The result, of course, is that the feedback and revision phases of development happen nearly at once, hastening consensus, speeding solution discovery, and leading to a condensed new product development process that launches innovation into the market while consumer need is still relevant.
Genuine Competitive Advantage
Bringing innovation to market faster translates quickly into tangible monetary value.
“Time-to-market was a far more powerful driver of value than previously understood,” explains Terrence McCormick of R&D Business Architect. “Some in the [pharma] industry now value acceleration as being [worth] four million dollars per day.”
By immersing teams and enabling collaboration within a dynamic environment rich with data and inspiration, more reliable and repeatable methodologies emerge for launching timely and successful new products. Infopresence is the essential experience that ensures an ongoing competitive advantage for business.
David Kung, VP Product Strategy, Oblong Industries
David is responsible for Oblong’s product roadmap and strategy. Prior to Oblong, David served as VP, Creative Director at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online. At Creative Artists Agency, he specialized in emerging technology for clients including Coca-Cola, Sprint, and Hasbro. Previously, David developed enhanced television programs as a Disney Imagineer and was a design lead with Art Technology Group. He holds degrees from MIT’s School of Architecture and the MIT Media Lab.
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