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Product Innovation

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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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.

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.

Whose Job is Innovation?


Coffee Talk: The Product Portfolio Mavens Live from University of Texas in Austin, Texas

Howdy! We continue our "Coffee Talk" video series on the Planview YouTube Channel -- all about the latest news and trends taking place in innovation and Product Portfolio Management (PPM). This month's "Talk" comes to you from the University of Texas Campus in Austin where the Product Portfolio Mavens share insights discussed during the innovation workshop offered at Planview's user conference and from the recent PDMA PIM conference.

The "Integrated Innovation: Making Innovation Everyone's Job" workshop, generated a lot of dialogue. In the "Talk" the Mavens offer key takeaways presented in their own unique way. Some comments they share:

Coffee Talk: The Product Portfolio Mavens Live from University of Texas in Austin, Texas
Pamela Soin and Carrie Nauyalis

"You gotta have executive support to run your innovation program."

"Closed-loop learning is so important."

"Process is not just for process sake."

View the "Talk" to learn the outcome of the resource management discussion. You'll also find out more about Carrie's time at PDMA's PIM Conference and what inspired her about comparisons between companies that are the best versus the rest!

Check out these quick links to learn more on the topics the Mavens cover this month:

Have suggestions for future Coffee Talk locations? Know a hot topic you'd like the Mavens to weigh in on? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

A Product Positioning Case Study: The Real Reason the iPad Mini Was Steve Jobs' Biggest Nightmare


I have had my iPad mini for three days now, and it is an amazing device, one that has already fundamentally changed my daily productivity habits. Like most reviewers have pointed out, weight is the killer-app of the mini. It has hit a form factor sweet spot that inspires me to carry it all day from meeting to meeting as my primary mobile productivity device. I am experimenting with Evernote® and I am officially retiring my decades' long companions of a paper notebook and pen for meetings, which is huge because I like a nice pen and pad. As an owner of several iPads and a Dell XPS13 Ultrabook, I can also attest that neither of these excellent devices came close to inspiring such a fundamental shift. But under the surface of this breakthrough is a tectonic, post-Jobs change in product positioning strategy at Apple.iPhone 5 vs iPad Mini

For years Steve Jobs was anti-mini with the alleged push back centered on usability and ergonomics of smaller screens and human fingertips. Maybe that was the case, but I think something more philosophical may have been the reason. Steve Jobs was not only a zealot for clean, elegant design, but for clean, elegant positioning. The bright lines have always been very clear between Apple products. If you want a computer, you buy an iMac for the desktop or a MacBook as a laptop. The value propositions between the Shuffle, the Nano, and the Touch have always been distinct. And if you were looking for a mobile iOS device it was an iPhone or an iPad ‒‒ all very clear, neat, and tidy designed to make it easy for customers to choose. But in reality, there was no choice, the position was always made very obvious, and that was the beauty of the Apple consumer experience model.

The iPad mini just slammed a wrecking ball through that model and I am sure that Steve would not be happy about it. Don't get me wrong, I love the device for all kinds of reasons. It has without a doubt very quickly become my primary iPad. My original iPad and iPad2 have become family communal property to be polluted at will with episodes of iCarly, Fashionista games, and whatever other apps young girls can't live without. So where is the positioning problem? Sounds like a win-win for everyone.

In short, I never want to touch my iPad2 again and even worse, I am not sure I still want an iPhone (or at least not one like I have now). The iPad2 feels old, heavy, and clunky ‒‒ something I've never said about an Apple product. They need to bring a new one out fast!

But the real rub is the iPhone. Now I walk around all day carrying my mini and my iPhone as a pair. But wait, the mini is my primary device, and it does almost everything so much better than my iPhone. It is so far superior for checking e-mail, calendaring, and browsing that my iPhone feels like massive overkill. Within a day, I concluded that I wanted a simple little phone that does phone calls and allows me to text. I have almost no desire to run apps on my iPhone anymore! My phone is quickly going to become my application device in airports, and if I had an LTE mini it would be even worse.

The positioning bright line is gone. The simple buying experience is gone. Sure, we have always hoped for a better iMac, iPad, or iPhone, but now we are hoping for completely new products in new categories, like a basic, "non-smart" phone ‒‒ a "non-smart" phone that would put a $75B iPhone franchise at risk. If I had the LTE-iPad Mini, I am convinced I would no longer need a smart phone (but to be clear I definitely do not want to hold my iPad mini up to my ear like some kind of Galaxy Note mutant). Without the bright positioning lines consumers are confused about what to buy. I have talked to many Apple devotees who are unclear about the implications of buying an iPad mini, the use case trade-offs conflicting their brains. This phenomenon is long rampant in the WinTel world and mainstream consumer electronics, but it has never been the case with Apple.

This is where it is clear the Cook-era is firmly upon us: a rational, business-driven approach that frankly is hard to argue with, but is counter to Jobs-era of positioning products. In classic consumer packaged goods (CPG) strategy, brand managers look to cover every use case with brand extensions to maximize share of shelf space within retail channels. This is how we end up with 15 different kinds of Windex®, none of which we are sure is the original ‒‒ the only one we actually want to buy. With the iPad mini, Apple felt compelled to fill the shelf space, cover the competitive threat, and maximize revenue by covering every SKU ‒‒ it's textbook and makes perfect sense to Tim Cook (but not to Mr. Jobs).

We will have to see how it plays out, but what an amazing product positioning case study we are watching. Maniacal simplicity (Jobs) versus a classic CPG maturity model (Cook). Will it all be justified by higher revenue across all products? That is the theory. But what will be the impact on the Apple brand and its legacy of simplicity? Of course it will be hard to truly judge, but as a marketer we are watching the nexus of the Job instinct model versus the Cook analytical model. Will the the end justify the means or is it a slippery slope? You can hear the rationalization inside Apple, "It's ok this time, we need to respond to Google, and hey, it's a great product and we will make more revenue anyway." Hmmm…

Overheard at Optimizing Innovation NYC


I recently attended the Optimizing Innovation Conference in NYC as Planview was a sponsor. Initially, I was surprised that half of the attendees had traveled from Europe just for a two-day conference. Once the sessions began, I quickly understood their motivation. Speakers from Levi® Strauss, NASA, MTV Networks, Goodyear®, Mozilla, Kraft, and many other companies whose brands are household names offered insight into innovation challenges they've faced and the solutions they've discovered. The amount of transparency was truly impressive and the resulting discussions between participants around the tables matched the wisdom and honesty modeled by the speakers. I can't possibly sum up all that I learned in a blog (perhaps an article or a mini-novella is in order), but these quotes from attendees and speakers provide some valuable nuggets that will hopefully generate dialogue between you and your colleagues:

Optimizing Innovation Conference Introduction

  • "Celebrate doing, not perfection" and "Failure is not a word in our environment." Much discussion was had around how to create an innovation-friendly environment. Many attendees admitted that while lots of the ideas had merit, their organizations are risk-averse and cultural change is not easy to accomplish -- but without a doubt critical for breakthrough innovation.
  • "Genius lives in all of us." The concept that innovative genius is cultivated rather than a component to one's DNA that is either present or not was propagated by Karen Freidt of NASA. She shared techniques she utilizes in her classes for the agency's Enhancing Your Creative Genius course, which truly stirs up even the most reserved personality types as they discover an inner creative spirit.
  • "Copy and adapt with pride." Sometimes we only feel smart if we figure something out from scratch -- the result can be the old "reinventing the wheel" scenario. The sentiment recognizes that as so many great ideas and products already exist, quite often we just need to put our egos aside, learn from what already is and adapt it for our needs, goals, and market.
  • "Don't steal babies." To encourage everyone in your company to contribute to innovation ('cause you never know where that next great idea will come from), employees must trust that they will be allowed to participate in the development process. Speakers from Danone, Mattel®, Fisher-Price®, and Motorola Solutions shared their collaborative ideation programs (including processes and tools) and demonstrated viable ways to keep innovators connected to their ideas.
  • "By 2050 there'll be nine billion people on earth. We'll need three planets to provide enough resources unless we do something different soon." The impact of this statement was not lost to the participants in the room. There is a tremendous burden on today's companies not only to drive profits but to do so with a higher level of environmental responsibility than before. The need, however, is not just to develop products more responsibly but also to develop products that will solve problems.

The final speaker of the conference shared an approach to innovation that can give us all pause as we think about how we are solving problems. Live Well Collaborative is an innovation incubator that partners with the University of Cincinnati and member organizations to develop products and services to meet the needs of the 50+ population. This collaborative provides real-world experience for college students and utilizes their fresh perspective to come up with innovative solutions. Companies, such as Kraft and Boeing, leverage this opportunity to develop new ideas to real business and world challenges.

Citi Talk at Optimizing Innovation 2012

Spending two days with folks who are committed to finding solutions to not only their companies' business challenges but, in some cases, challenges our world is facing, was truly inspiring. I'm motivated to keep track of these companies and see how they continue to innovate and what fresh perspectives they bring to the process.

Do you have a fresh perspective on innovation? What problems are you looking to solve? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.