Develop…then design later?

In what order do you do the R&D process? What would be the result if you flipped it?

In the traditional R&D process, the product is developed and then handed off to the design team to “wrap” it and make it look pretty. The drawback is that this approach is out of date; in the last ten years consumers have become much more design-savvy. Consumers want functional, usable design that highlights ease of […]

In-house or Outsource as Needed?

Where do we perform product research and development? Where else could this be done?

What is your organization’s philosophy about design and development? Do you keep everything in-house, or do you outsource as needed? There are two schools of thoughts on this. By keeping the design process in-house, a company can build a sense of continuity and cohesion that links the entire family of products together in a satisfying […]

Is The Project Worth Pursuing?

What are the criteria to select research and development projects?

What are your criteria for deciding that an idea is worth pursuing? We all have our own set of selection criteria, the first of which is usually looking for profits. However, selecting a course of action based solely on ROI can be limiting. If you are doing something really innovative, how on earth can you […]

The Battle for Customers

What would happen if I realigned my industry relationships (i.e., partners, suppliers, etc.)?

Odds are that you and your competitors are actually competing in two distinct ways. The obvious battle is the one to win customers from each other. The less obvious, but equally important, one is the battle for the resources required to produce your product. In chapter 2, we touched on the concept of unexpected jolts, […]

Designing over the competition

What industries are analogous to ours, and what can we learn from them?

No matter what business we are in, we are all fighting essentially the same fight—designing a product that a customer will prefer over that of our competitor. To do this, we need to constantly be aware of how our business environment is evolving, how our customers are changing, and what we need to modify in […]

Make it Happen, First!

What Comes Next?

A few years ago I saw a website offering a product called After the Rapture Pet Care. It claimed to offer a service for Christians concerned about the welfare of pets that would be left behind after the Day of Judgment. Subscribers were promised a network of non-Christians who’d swoop in, collect pets, and promise […]

Stay Relevant— The Changing Nature of Products

How could my product change in five years?

Do you sell atoms or bytes? Do you think that your answer could change over the next five years? Think about Amazon and the Kindle. Jeff Bezos asked, What is my role going to be if the nature of books changes? He realized that to stay relevant and necessary his company needed to retain control […]

That Sputnik moment

What products and services will I need to develop and offer to stay ahead of my competition in the next five years?

On October 4, 1957, Russia launched a beach-ball-sized satellite named Sputnik, which orbited the Earth in just over ninety-six minutes. The previous frontrunner in the space race, the United States, was now the runner up. Our only competitor had trounced us, seemingly out of nowhere. A month later the Russians sent up Laika, a small […]

Finding Ways to Offer Underused Resources

What products could I create out of unused assets?

I’m an innovation guy. It may not say so on my business card, but that’s what I do. I encourage people, whether inside HP or in my meetings with customers around the world, to accept that they and their product are going to have to change. No matter how popular and successful your work is, […]

The zero-tolerance consumer

What is surprisingly inconvenient about my product?

The designers and engineers who work at HP face many challenges in getting their ideas signed off on. It’s a long process from an idea to a finished prototype. Before any product can hit the market, it faces one final test. I take the prototype home, give it to my wife, and say, “Tell me […]