By David Crosswhite, Managing Partner at ITC Business Group
Author of The Innovator's Field Guide
As the discipline of systematic innovation continues to evolve, many organizations have developed and incorporated front-end innovation processes, and “back-end of innovation” approaches to their existing stage-gate methods. This is all good. However the large majority of organizations put most if not all of their calories into developing their innovative offerings or thinking as a part of their “pre-launch” activities. As they formulate the new product or business concept or go-to-market strategy, they develop new perspectives and translate those new perspectives into new ideas and eventually to new, tested products or offerings, ready for launch.
But what happens post-launch? How much new learning and application of the new learning to improve the overall “innovativeness” of the business concept or its go-to-market strategy occur after initial launch? In many if not most cases, very little. The new product or concept tends to go onto auto-pilot, and is managed by traditional product monitoring and measurement techniques, very little of which has to do with new perspectives acquisition and application. More often it focuses on performance measurement and margin management.
Why should this be the case? World class innovators don’t follow this pattern of behavior. Instead they continue to learn and apply to enhance the innovation quotient of the concept and its go-to-market attributes. They look for new learning with regard to consumer acquisition and usage insights. They look to understand their and their competitor’s orthodoxies by observing competitive response with an eye toward paradigms worth challenging. They use these new and highly valuable “in-market” insights to create new and additional alterations to product and go-to-market actions which enhance the innovation IQ of the concept. And they test and ultimately scale the enhancements utilizing their highly valuable asset of the already in-market offering. This is how leading innovators are pushing the edges of the systematic innovation frontier.