By Somik Raha, SmartOrg
SmartOrg will be at the Back End of Innovation conference from November 15-17, 2016. The conference will take place at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In keeping with BEI 2016’s theme, “Secure Your Competitive Advantage with Winning Commercialization and Go-to-Market Strategies,” I present “Pivoting Your Way to Profitability” at 2:25 PM on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The presentation will consist of a breakout session and a hands-on workshop (bring your own laptop or tablet).
Developing and successfully launching new products can be a very risky undertaking. There are many unforeseen hazards between concept and launch. No matter how carefully you forecast and plan, you are negotiating uncharted waters. It can be a messy process, full of surprises–some good and some bad.
Pivoting provides a unique opportunity to learn from experience and to change course at key development stages, making the difference between attaining mediocre results and achieving astounding success.
An estimated 80 percent of new product launches fail. Pivoting is a way to repurpose failure, to turn it into actionable lessons, and to use those lessons to refocus the product and the product launch in ways that are much more likely to succeed.
The key to pivoting profitably lies in understanding that the high stakes of product launches require high-quality conversations about the product, the market and the launch effort. High-quality conversations have the qualities of transparency, authenticity, respect and learning.
Without these four qualities, you will have low-integrity conversations that lead to poor results. Low-integrity conversations are driven by power or fear of failure, and thus overlook opportunities for success.
If you have had the experience of low-integrity conversations leading to mediocre results, you may ask yourself, “how do we change the game?”
One way to change the game and stay focused on opportunities for better outcomes is to reject common innovation myths. These myths can blind you to the tools and techniques that can help you pivot to new opportunities.
Myth #1 is, “Numbers will kill high-quality conversations and rich understanding.” It’s true that misusing numbers in the course of evaluating options can lead to a kind of tunnel vision that sees only numerical results. But when the goal of our numbers and metrics is not to judge in an absolute way but to generate learning that helps us discriminate between our choices, we can gain and share deep understanding about the alternatives in front of us.
Myth #2 says, “Finance gets in the way of innovation.” This myth denies the obvious truth that finance and innovation are inextricably linked. Innovation needs finance to fund the efforts that create growth, and finance needs the growth innovation creates to keep the enterprise healthy and enable further innovation. In SmartOrg’s fifteen years of experience, we’ve found that all too often, companies don’t provide a way for finance and innovation to work together.
Myth #3 tells us, “Executives don’t get innovation.” This misconception arises when companies don’t design their work processes to allow executives to contribute constructively to Innovation. This myth can lead innovators to engage in number games they don’t believe in just to impress executives. On the executive end, they know this game all too well and engage in cutting down the pitch, which is demoralizing. It is possible to design processes where executives can legitimately coach and raise the innnovator’s game.
When you have the right tools in place to let innovation, finance and corporate executives learn from product launch experience and share insights into what works, what doesn’t, and what might work better, you have the means to pivot from a failing opportunity to one with better chances of success and greater upside. In the workshop, I will show participants how to pivot within a single project to improve its chances for success and its upside. I will also show participants how to evaluate an entire innovation in isolation and in the context of a product portfolio. Participants will learn how to use portfolio evaluation screens to manage their innovations realistically based on their maturity level.
I look forward to seeing you at 2:25 PM on Wednesday, Nov. 16 in New Orleans. For more information on the event, click here.