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Product Development

Keeping Up with the Innovators: A Look at Recent Entries on the PIPELINE Wire


With the PIPELINE 2013 conference taking place this week, we are enjoying access to valuable insights and lessons learned from the conference speakers and sponsors. Here are a couple of recent articles worth a read:

Posted on the PIPELINE 2013 Wire, Innovation Insights: A Q&A with PIPELINE Speaker Pascal Finette, is a sneak peek into what the director of the Office of the Chair at Mozilla will share in his PIPELINE breakout session. Pascal, a believer in the open-innovation paradigm, explains how "innovation in its most elemental form is a funnel process." He then goes on to share how Mozilla embraced this philosophy as it started out to "do the impossible" and take on Microsoft. Read the full interview to learn more about Pascal's perspective on the tangible steps product developers can take to effectively use innovation to drive meaningful change that can increase market share.

Another insightful read on the Wire this week is titled, A New Frontier for the Learning Organization ‒‒ Better Innovation by Understanding the Big Picture. Chad McAllister, founder of Product Innovation Educators, shares five actions organizations can take to advance their learning about innovation. Read the complete article to find out why it is important for businesses to become learning organizations and start looking at effective ways to address root causes rather than chase issues.

Later this week, the Wire will feature interviews with keynote speaker Frans Johansson, innovation author and founder/CEO of the Medici Group, and Product Pulse will feature Terry Mandel, founder of a startup that is demonstrating innovation that can change the world with its dedication to improving access to affordable and effective biomedical innovation in the developing world.

Stay tuned to Product Pulse for more from PIPELINE speakers and other innovation experts and product development leaders.

Innovation and Portfolio Management: Wise Tips from the Wire


As event manager for the PIPELINE 2013 conference, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Kevin McFarthing. The word that comes to mind when I think of him is "enthusiastic" and I truly appreciate that he has been a wonderful supporter of PIPELINE and the innovation education it offers attendees. When you read Kevin's blogs, I think you'll find he also brings experience and wisdom to what he shares. And, as he is a frequent contributor to the Innovation Excellence blog, you may already be aware of all this. But in case you're not, I wanted to bring your attention to his latest contribution to the PIPELINE 2013 Wire: The Portfolio is the Pivotal Tool for Innovation Success

My favorite line is: Innovation needs creativity for great ideas, excellent execution in product and service development, strong external and internal communication, committed and capable people ‒‒ the portfolio is the tool that holds it all together. Of course, "How?" is likely the question that we are compelled to ask when reading that statement. Conveniently for us, he provides eight tips for effective and efficient portfolio management. Read more on the PIPELINE Wire.

Changing the Game with Innovation that Works


What to Expect at PIPELINE 2013 and Four Reasons to Attend

I am very excited to announce to all our Product Pulse readers that PIPELINE 2013 registration is open! This year's conference is all about "Changing the Game with Innovation that Works." As innovators, we know that inspiration is only a piece of the puzzle — and that's where PIPELINE comes in. Read the latest press releaseChanging the Game With Innovation.

Now in its fourth year — the online conference for innovative product development highlights innovation tools, techniques, and tangible takeaways shared by thought leaders, solution providers, and innovation practitioners. And for the first time, PIPELINE will feature several presentations in both German and English to appeal to its diverse and growing global audience. PIPELINE 2013 showcases keynote presentations:

  • Terry Jones, chairman of Kayak.com and founder /former CEO of Travelocity.com will speak about Turning on Innovation in Your Culture — Teams and Organizations
  • Frans Johansson, innovation author and founder/CEO of the Medici Group will discuss The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World
  • Dr. Oliver Gassmann, innovation author and director of the Institute for Technology Management of the University of St. Gallen will speak about The Art and Science of Innovation (Presented in English and German)

PIPELINE 2013 will take place May 16th and opens at 4:30 AM CDT / 9:30 GMT with the first presentation kicking-off at 5:00 AM CDT /10:00 GMT followed by an assortment of informational and inspiring presentations running throughout the day. The conference will conclude at 2:30 PM CDT / 19:30 GMT so mark your calendars, select what you want to attend, and don't miss this extraordinary event.

Four reasons you should attend PIPELINE 2013:

  1. It's free to attend; no travel required.
  2. Connect and network with product leaders and innovators from organizations from all around the world!
  3. Get valuable insight and gain knowledge from PIPELINE's impressive lineup of speakers and sponsors.
  4. Leave the event feeling inspired and motivated and lead the innovation strategy within your organization.

As the host sponsor of PIPELINE, we will share conference updates and feature articles from PIPELINE speakers and sponsors, right here on Product Pulse. Read Kaylee Kolditz's article titled, Lighting the Way to a Brighter World Though Innovation at PIPELINE 2013 on the PIPELINE Buzz page. Want to know more about the event? Watch this video for a quick overview.

What are you looking forward to most at PIPELINE 2013? Share by leaving a comment below. I look forward to seeing you at the event.

Four Recommended Articles for Product Development Success


As we quickly transition into the second quarter of 2013, I wanted to share several informative articles from some terrific innovation publications including Innovation Management, Enterprise Apps Today, and Intelligent HQ. A couple of the articles feature insights and recommendations from the newly released Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study; another promotes continued awareness and best practices for meeting launch windows and getting products to market faster, and the last shares key ways to improve your decision making process.

  1. Product Portfolio Management: Getting Products to Market Faster
    Featured earlier this month in Enterprise Apps Today, this article provides insight based on last fall's Issue In Focus: Meeting Product Launch Windows research report. Jim Brown, president of Tech-Clarity, shares how product portfolio management software can help organizations more quickly launch new products.

    Read the article on Enterprise Apps Today.
  2. From Chaos to Control: New Research Reveals the Global State of Resource Management and Capacity Planning
    This article reviews the results from the Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study, identifying best practices to avoid wasting resources on the wrong opportunities.

    Read the article on InnovationManagement.se and learn how to help your organization stop wasting resources.
  3. Interview with Planview: How does your company's maturity level impact innovation?
    IntelligentHQ interviewed Jerry Manas, bestselling business author, and Maureen Carlson, chief researcher, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study.

    Access the interview on IntelligentHQ and gain insight into your company's maturity level.
  4. Equipped to Face Tough Portfolio Decisions in 2013
    As part of the eLearning program with InnovationManagement.se, this article revisits the three things your product organization can do to improve decision making this year.

    "If you manage a product portfolio, it's likely you have tough decisions to make in 2013. How will you make the tradeoffs, such as killing underperforming products and funding new ones? Do you have the data to make the right decisions?"

    Continue reading on InnovationManagement.se.

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Lessons Learned: Assessing the Skills of 450 Research and Development Professionals


The superheated economy of the late 1990s was punctuated by a scramble for resources and market-share. Stalwart companies like IBM were waking up to the reality that they could not skate on their size and reputations -- they too had to become masters of change.

IBM's mantra, "A new shade of blue" signaled their intended transformation to become a more agile organization. To fuel this transformation, IBM needed to assess the skills, core competencies, and training needs across more than a dozen research and development centers. My assignment was to plan and obtain approval for this worldwide initiative. Then, coordinating my activities with the other labs, I'd directly manage the skills survey and analysis of 450 professionals in Austin, Texas.

The assignment seemed straightforward. I designed a prototype survey, data capture and reports. Working with other designated managers, we agreed on a common set of skills categories and established consistent definitions for the 5 skill levels. We recognized that the data and subsequent value of the skills survey would quickly go stale, so we designed an online tool which would support profile updates, the addition of new skills and the retirement of skills no longer valued. We set up and tested the completed online survey tools. Everything was good to go… or so we thought.

Our initial rollout of the survey tool to First Line Managers turned up an immediate oversight: while those on the planning team embraced the survey as a means to better utilize the skills of our professionals and offer relevant training, the #1 fear among those taking the survey was that the information would be used to eliminate their jobs. With such a concern, lack of cooperation and gaming the system become more likely. A skills survey taken under these circumstances would be useless. What followed were a series of discussions with Managers to create a skills assessment system which would satisfy the needs of all parties. This included a documented agreement to utilize aggregated data for organizational planning and limit the access to individual skills profiles.

Lessons Learned

The following lessons apply to skills assessments, performance reviews and other areas where collected data has the potential to affect compensation and job security.

1. Set clear objectives

An accurate profile of skills is an asset in capacity planning, developing the capabilities of an organization and matching employees with appropriate assignments. Clear objectives will establish the level of detail and effort needed for the assessment. If objectives and communications are unclear, you will have a difficult time enlisting others' support, expend more effort and be leaving the value to chance.

Clarity is also important in setting objective guidelines for skill levels. Such guidelines may include years of experience, levels of responsibility, completed coursework and certifications equating to a given skill level.

2. Address concerns and motivate participation

Skills assessments are best initiated during times of growth when participation can be rewarded with choice assignments and professional development. Initiating a skills assessment at any other time will be more problematic. Addressing concerns openly creates the possibility for all parties to come to common grounds even in difficult times.

3. Never compromise trust

Trust is an asset that, once lost, is difficult to regain. Using skills profiles for anything other than a mutually beneficial purpose will undermine future assessments and job performance. Likewise, you will need to consider how to handle employees who deliberately game the system.

4. No substitute for direct communications

Skills assessments are just a planning tool. For resource management, nothing takes the place of good communications, mentoring, team-building and leadership.

Last year, LinkedIn introduced skills "tags" and endorsements as a search aid to match employers with job seekers. In retrospect, this approach of having employees voluntarily identify skills at a single level would provide much of the value for planning assignments without touching off job security concerns. Skills identification is quicker to do and easier to maintain than a multi-level skills assessment -- a good start for most Enterprise Resource Management initiatives.

How do you perform skills assessments in your organization? Share your best practices and lessons learned by leaving a comment below.

An Interview with Carrie Nauyalis on the Stage-Gate Innovation Summit


The annual Stage-Gate® Innovation Summit 2013 recently wrapped up in Miami, leaving attendees with much to think about when it comes to implementing best practices around product development processes. The conference is directed by innovation champions from leading companies and promotes the sharing of ideas that enable immediate improvements in the gated process. Carrie Nauyalis, new product development solution evangelist, Planview, attended the conference for her fourth year and shares her experience with you, right here on Product Pulse.

Q: Having attended or sponsored the Stage-Gate Innovation Summit four times, what keeps you coming back?

Carrie: The Stage-Gate brand is known worldwide and there is so much depth under the methodology. The conference is an outlet for the experienced to share lessons learned with the newcomers trying to develop their process. I am always impressed with the culture of cooperation at the conference. Speakers reveal their best practices, and aren't ashamed to admit their mistakes and what they would do differently ‒‒ that's where the real benefit comes. I also appreciate the opportunity to speak with the presenters, collaborate with others to see how they are doing things, and meet people going through similar issues. You walk away inspired and enthused to get back and tweak your process.

Q: What types of people attended the conference this year?

Carrie: The conference is truly a span of people ranging from Stage-Gate newbies to companies with 10 years of Stage-Gate process under their belts. Everyone there is either a practitioner of Stage-Gate or the beneficiary of the process, meaning they may not directly use the process but they have teams of people under them who do. Both practitioners and beneficiaries glean valuable information based on their business initiatives.

Q: What presentations stood out for you this year?

Carrie: Chester Baker, head of global innovation at Abbott Nutrition, offered staggering statistics about ROI, which is critical when investing people and money in process development and portfolio management. When you consider the cost of paying gate keepers to take time out of their schedules to evaluate projects going to gate and all of the process managers chasing gate deliverables, you want to see returns. Chet illustrated that it's not just about implementation of Stage-Gate or a portfolio management solution like Planview Enterprise, but a collective innovation program with the goal of growing the company.

Of course, Scott Edgett, co-founder of Stage-Gate International, had some wicked-good stats of his own. He said that only one out of every nine concepts becomes a commercial success and 40% of a firm's product development resources go to losers; shocking! That's a lot of failed concepts that drained a lot of valuable resources ‒‒ and a lot of missed opportunities. I truly believe using technology like Planview's can increase the odds, reduce the number of resources applied to losers and increase the commercialization success of products. That's the stuff that gets me up in the morning.

Finally, Bruce Kerr, director of corporate innovation effectiveness at Corning, discussed the evolution of their gated process. He "got" that it's about continuous improvement versus a one-time fix; finding new ways to streamline the process and get better products to market faster. Interestingly, he was one of the only speakers who mentioned social media as part of their product development process. Social media can play a huge role in product development and more companies need to consider it.

Q: What were your key takeaways?

Carrie: 1) Continuous improvement in the Stage-Gate process is critical. You’re never "done." 2) Consumer-facing product companies have an opportunity to incorporate their brand into their Stage-Gate and portfolio processes. Marketing needs to get involved by incorporating brand information into the product development process and portfolio prioritization process. 3) The successful companies have automated their processes using commercialized applications, not spreadsheets. Spreadsheets aren't going to get you there.

To learn more about automating the Stage-Gate Process with Planview Enterprise download your copy of the Planview Enterprise is Certified Stage-Gate® Ready Solution Brief.

I'd like to hear from you. If you attended the Stage-Gate Innovation Summit, share some of the highlights that inspired you. If you didn't attend, what are some key takeaways you had at a product development or innovation conference this year? Share by leaving a comment below.

Reading List for Product Development Professionals


February featured some interesting news and views pertaining to product development and innovation, and we're excited to share some of our favorites. Each month we will share articles we find particularly compelling, fun or insightful here on Product Pulse. We invite you to bookmark the ones you like or add them to your reading list ‒‒ happy reading.

Innovation Excellence Weekly Issue 21: This SlideShare provides Innovation Excellence's pick of ten recent articles. With topics such as Jimi Hendrix for Innovators and Can a Company Over Innovate?, we think you'll enjoy the read!

Forbes: The 3 Ways Innovation is Changing (And How to Adapt Fast): Innovators and product development leaders need to think about the shifts taking place and respond accordingly. Check out the top 3 changes being faced (be sure to read the article to understand implications and required responses):

  • Change #1. The very long-term innovation environment
  • Change #2. Innovate everywhere, always
  • Change #3. Innovate the processes

Innovation Management: Wearable Technology ‒‒ From Geek to Chic?: What will they think of next? Check out wearable technology that integrates the power of smartphone technology into wristbands or smart watches, smart glasses, jewelry, and clothes ‒‒ even tattoos and soon contact lenses (wow)! Big brand players include Apple, Google, Olympus, Sony and Nike along with not so well-known companies such as Pebble, mc10 and Recon Instruments. Read how 2013 is the kicking off wearable technology and its potential growth projections.

You can share some of your top choices for newsworthy articles with our Product Development audience by providing a link and comment below.

The Global State of Resource Management and Capacity Planning [Infographic]


In a recent blog post, Are Your Limited Resources Focused on the Right Opportunities?, Maureen Carlson, chief researcher of the Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study, cites key findings and introduces the study's maturity matrix that you can use to evaluate the maturity of your organization.

2013 Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study InfographicOne revelation is that a great majority of organizations have shared resources across their enterprise, but less than half of them have a dedicated function or role for resource management and capacity planning. Not surprisingly, the ones who do are achieving the most success in terms of resource planning maturity.

Overall, greater visibility of demand and capacity, better demand prioritization, and the ability to adapt to change are cited as key enablers to success. The comprehensive study, which features input from more than 600 participants in more than 17 countries, goes into greater detail and makes recommendations for boosting maturity.

With 44% of respondents from product development, the study sheds a light on the most significant pain points and causes, business risks, software use, and best practices ‒‒ for not only PD but cross industry.

Read the complete blog on Portfolio Perspectives and get your complimentary copy of the report from our 2013 Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study page.

"Many organizations are continuing to operate in a state of chaos or limited visibility into what their resources are working on today and what they are available to do tomorrow. A third of organizations have achieved some level of visibility…" Read more about the Resource Management and Capacity Benchmark Study

Stay tuned to Product Pulse for details from product development respondents and follow #RMCP13 to join the conversation on Twitter.

I'd like to hear from you. How are you currently managing your resources and capacity to ensure your people are working on the right opportunities? Post a comment or ask me a question pertaining to the research by leaving a comment below.

Carlson, M. (2013). Resource Management Capacity Planning Benchmark Study. Planview.

Innovators: What Enables You to See Things Differently?


Can We Create Innovations That Change the Game If We're Not Always Questioning Today's Answers?

As we plan for PIPELINE 2013, I'm actively researching innovation topics and authors. This year, we again seek to engage visionary speakers, but also ensure that attendees receive practical guidance for implementing processes and techniques to deliver innovation that truly changes the game. To that end, we are delving into what innovations have changed the game and how they came about. We are finding that innovation is sometimes an accident, sometimes perseverance, often long, hard work, and occasionally true brilliance; but always one must be willing to see something in a different, new way.

Jack AndrakaToday I am again inspired by a 15-year-old innovator who will save lives. I had the pleasure of meeting this young man at Frost & Sullivan's GIL conference last fall and just read another article about his mind-boggling story. Jack Andraka and his family lost a friend to pancreatic cancer and it struck him that in a society as advanced as the U.S. there should not be a disease that kills 96% of its victims within 5 years. He chose to look at the situation differently; to ask questions that hadn't been asked because he refused to believe that the right answers had been found. At 15, while daydreaming in science class, an answer came to him and he subsequently developed what turns out to be a very simple and inexpensive dip-stick test to detect the cancer very early on. What's more, this test may not only save the lives of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but it may also be used to identify other diseases as well. (Read more on the Take Part Website.)

As I look into different approaches for innovation, Jack's story makes me wonder: What problems do we assume already have the best solutions we're able to find? What questions are we not asking? And what motivates us to refuse to accept things as they are and to not take "no" for an answer? By the way, when soliciting research labs for space to develop his concept, Jack was rejected by 197 of them. Would you be motivated to call lab #198? Good thing Jack was!

Top Innovation and Product Development Resources of 2012


Revisiting Wisdom from Analysts, Thought Leaders, and Practitioners

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2013, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the most popular innovation and portfolio management resources of 2012. These whitepapers and Webcasts feature analysts, thought leaders, and practitioners sharing their wisdom and experience to help us make better, more informed decisions and optimize our limited resources.

Here are five most widely read (and viewed) resources:

  1. PDF: Issue in Focus: Meeting Fixed Product Launch Windows, Managing Portfolios When Time to Market is Non-Negotiable
    In this research report, Jim Brown, president of Tech-Clarity, addresses the critical nature of hitting launch windows and provides insight from successful companies as well as tips for improving the odds of success.
  2. Video / webcast: On-Demand Webcast: Building and Managing an Innovation Portfolio
    Hosted by best-selling business author Jerry Manas, featuring Chip Gliedman, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research, Inc. and Carrie Nauyalis, NPD solution market manager, Planview, this webcast provides insights to help you build and manage your innovation portfolio.
  3. PDF: Ten Proven Military Strategies For Better Resource Planning: Avoiding Custer's Last Stand
    This latest whitepaper from Jerry Manas explores 10 timeless military strategies ‒‒ tried and tested over thousands of years ‒‒ that can be effectively applied toward modern day resource planning.
  4. Video / webcast: On-Demand Webcast: How Technology-Enabled Visibility Lets You Prioritize Products and Optimize Resources
    Find out how product portfolio management (PPM) technology enables organizations to optimize their limited people and financial resources to achieve their product delivery objectives. Featuring Planview, Isabel SA, and Frost & Sullivan.
  5. PDF: The 3rd Product Portfolio Management Benchmark Study
    With input from more than 1000 product development executives and managers over the last three surveys, this report provides insightful statistics and informative data on the state of product portfolio management along with thought-provoking recommendations for all product development organizations.

Continue the Conversation Online

We're actively engaged in social media connecting product developers and practitioners to the latest news and information in innovation and product portfolio management. Join the conversation by:

Are there other materials that provided you important guidance in 2012? Please use the comment section below to share your favorite white papers, Webcasts, blogs, etc.