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Innovation Management

Product Lifecycle Management

Practical Tips for Successful Product Development

Ulf Köster, Senior Director EMEA, Product Lifecycle Management at Oracle, @Ulf_Koester

Get started on your journey to consistent innovation success with practical advice on how you can improve every step of the product innovation and development process

Dominic Regan

Ulf Köster, Senior Director EMEA, Product Lifecycle Management at Oracle

Practical tips for successful innovation

In our previous blog we looked at how to improve product innovation and development by bringing structure to disconnected processes and supporting the management of the process flow with digital tools.

Management methodologies and digital tools sound great in theory, but what does this new kind of innovation management look like in practice? Let’s take it out of the classroom and into reality with a step-by-step tour of the product innovation and development process and some practical tips to get you started.

Social monitoring to idea capture

Tip 1: Take advantage of the global reach of social media by listening to conversations and feedback about your products and services. Use an internal social platform to capture and collaborate on ideas across the business.

Tip 2: Keep all the ideas you capture internally and externally in a central repository so they can be easily analyzed, assessed, and prioritized for translation into profitable products and services.

Idea capture to business case

Tip 1: Use dashboards to visualize analytics so you can make fast, well-informed decisions about which ideas have the best business potential.

Tip 2: Enrich and refine the best ideas by collaborating with internal and external teams to build the strongest possible business case.

Requirements definition to optimization

Tip 1: Don’t waste resources duplicating work that’s already been done. Reuse elements of existing products wherever appropriate to save time, money, and effort.

Tip 2: Make sure you store a comprehensive record of input from all stakeholders—social collaboration tools and robust version control will be vital components of your innovation platform.

Concept formation to design

Tip 1: Using existing products to create new designs can dramatically accelerate innovation. Don’t assume innovative products need to be built from the ground up—often you’ll find you’re already half way there.

Tip 2: With powerful analytics capabilities, it’s straightforward to create multiple concept alternatives to compare costs and the likelihood of technical and commercial success.

Product proposal to go-to-market candidate

Tip 1: Use what-if scenario modeling to analyze the various investment options available and determine which ones are likely to deliver the greatest business impact.

Tip 2: Compare potential investments to available budgets and resources, to identify whether the proposed products will fit within the constraints of your existing product value chain.

Portfolio review to selection and project execution

Tip 1: Capture and analyze a constant stream of ideas from multiple channels to build a balanced, forward-looking product portfolio that’s aligned with your overall strategy.

Tip 2: Use analytics to define your evaluation criteria for new and existing products to make portfolio management decisions based on the most important metrics for your organization.

While all these tips focus on particular phases of the product innovation and development cycle, it's important to take care of the big picture, too. Here are three key things you need to bear in mind when you're building your innovation management strategy:

1: Start with the basics

Begin by creating a single system of record for all product value chain data. With the right tools in place, you’ll then be able to outline and refine all product-related processes and identify areas where cost savings and productivity gains can be made.

2: Foster a culture where everyone’s an innovator

Your R&D department doesn’t have a monopoly on innovation—it comes from the whole enterprise. It’s vital to involve everyone—from board members to frontline workers. Internal social networks can be incredibly valuable tools for keeping managers and staff in constant communication and creating a culture that encourages creativity and collaboration.

3: Make sure everything is repeatable

Every success and failure is an opportunity to learn. Gathering, analyzing, and acting on detailed information about project results is vital if you’re to ensure best practices are replicated—and pitfalls are avoided—across the organization.

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