Product Innovation and Technology Strategy
Robert G. Cooper and Scott J. Edgett
companies shift gears from managing the bottom-line to growing
their top-line, many will look to product innovation to accelerate growth. This
is no surprise as new products are key drivers of growth, especially ‘game-changers’.
As top performing companies have discovered, product innovation, if approached
with a strategy-in-hand is a proven winner.
Top Performing Companies Approach Innovation Differently
Companies that consistently deliver successful, game-changing products do something that
most other companies do not do when it comes to product innovation - they place
their bets on ‘strategic arenas’ before they brainstorm new product
ideas. In other words, they pick the best mines to explore and they focus their exploration
efforts in those mines only. One of the biggest misconceptions about successful product
innovation is that
‘focus’ hinders creativity. According to the world’s top innovation management scholars, Robert G. Cooper
and Scott J. Edgett, if you monitor the performance and practices of top performing
companies like Apple, Corning, J&J and P&G, having the discipline to ‘focus’ your
innovation efforts does not hinder performance. In fact, it improves performance results!
A Step-by-Step Playbook
In their latest book, Product Innovation and Technology Strategy, Cooper
and Edgett outline how executives in top performing companies take a strategic and
focused approach to product innovation in their quest for marketplace dominance. This
step-by-step playbook guides companies in selecting strategic arenas - the
platforms, markets and technologies that make the most sense for the company to invest
and innovate in - in
order to support and advance the company’s business strategy. They also
isolate six elements of a Product Innovation and Technology Strategy that are consistently
core in the top performing companies.
The objective of a product innovation strategy is to align product innovation
efforts to the overall business strategy. For all organizations, a well-defined
strategy is the most critical element to increase return on innovation investment.
Real Company Examples
Peppered with numerous real company stories and examples, this book brings
together the salient points of effective product innovation, strategic management,
and innovation governance. No other business authors give you this kind of uncomplicated
narrative, informed by significant industry experience and rigorous academic research.
Real company cases and examples referenced in this book include Apple’s® iPod,
Procter & Gamble’s Oil of Olay™, Cover Girl’s Outlast™,
Johnson & Johnson’s Viactiv®, Corning’s® Technologies,
Lego’s® Mindstorms® and many more.
Fact: The Most Popular Innovation Strategy Yields
the Worst Performance
The performance impact of product innovation strategies was investigated by
Cooper and Edgett in this ‘first of its kind’ study undertaken
on a large number of businesses.
“The overriding conclusion of the study is that product innovation strategy
and performance are strongly linked. The types of markets, products and technologies
that firms elect, and the orientation and direction of their product innovation
efforts, have a pronounced impact on success and profitability. Strategy really
does count!” “Some strategy types perform better than others. Conceiving
and pursuing a deliberate innovation strategy similar to Type A, or Type B is
certain to yield better results. Type C, the most popular strategy, yields the
worst performance results.” Chapter 1, pp 15-20, Exhibits 1.6, 1.7, 1.8,
1.9 and 1.10.
Top Performers Consistently Include Six Key Elements
in their Innovation Strategies
“Six elements of a product innovation strategy strongly distinguish the top
performing businesses in product innovation. They also serve as the basis for the
ideal logical flow or thought process to guide leadership in developing an insightful
product innovation strategy.” Chapter 1, pp 23-28, Exhibit 1.6 for a visual
chart and an overview.
“Ten six elements are:
- Objectives and Role of Innovation for the Business
- Arenas and Strategic Thrust
- Attack and Entry Strategies
- Deployment - Spending Commitments, Priorities and Strategic Buckets
- Strategic Product Roadmap
- Project Selection and Prioritization."
- Ten Signs a Company’s Innovation Governance may
be in Trouble.
“New product and R&D projects are often initiated solely on their individual
merits with little regard to their fit into the grander scheme. The result
is that the business finds itself in unrelated or unwanted markets, products and
technologies.” Chapter 8, pp 229-234, Exhibit 8.1-8.2.
“Ten signs a company’s innovation governance may be in trouble:
- Inefficiencies occur due to duplication of effort.
- Decision-making is not clear and is lacking in accountability.
- Effective investment decisions are not being made.
- Resource deployment is not clearly aligned with the business’s strategy.
- The value of the innovation pipeline is insufficient to meet targets.
- No process in place to manage innovation and provide oversight.
- Decisions are not timely.
- Internal politics play too large a role in funding projects.
- Lack of visibility regarding decision-making.
- Frustration around the level of bureaucracy.”
- Top Performers Demonstrate that ‘Focus’ Does
Not Hinder Creativity
The performance impact of product innovation strategies was investigated
by Cooper and Edgett in this ‘first of its kind’ study undertaken
on a large number of businesses. The overriding conclusion was that a ‘focused’ approach
to product innovation guided by a product innovation strategy yields the best
“The three most important achievements in developing an innovation strategy
are focus, focus and focus...but, on the right Strategic Arenas! Too often,
product development efforts resemble a scatter-gun approach: there is no focus;
efforts are thinly spread across many fronts (different markets, technologies
and product types); and there is little impact as a result. In military
strategy, the principle of mass is vital; concentrate combat power at the decisive
place and time. The same applies to innovation strategy.”
“Some skeptics question the need for focus at all, and can point to examples
where having no focus actually worked. But these examples are limited and
anecdotal. The hard research evidence proves otherwise: A focused
approach for new product development has been found to be an important ingredient
of successful innovation strategies. Focus improves creativity by targeting
energies on those areas where the payoff is likely to be the greatest. Focus
provides direction for idea generation, criteria for screening and project selection
and targets for resource allocation.” Chapter 1, pp 1-2 and 17-18,
Exhibit 1.6 outline benchmark statistics and company example: Apple’s iPod.
To arrange an interview with Robert G. Cooper and/or Scott J. Edgett on these or other
story ideas, contact Michelle Jones.
About the Authors
Robert G. Cooper and Scott J. Edgett are recognized as the world’s foremost experts
in the ever important field of product innovation. They are prolific authors, award
winning researchers, sought-after public speakers and consultants to industry. Their
research and resulting methodologies have led to some of the most important discoveries
in product innovation today. They were the first to pinpoint the practices that discriminate
winning products from losing products, to build the most accurate product success predictive
tool and the first to introduce the concept of portfolio management for new products.
Their collective works are considered to have achieved the most powerful impact on
performance in product innovation today.
Robert G. Cooper
- Creator of the world’s most widely implemented innovation process,
- Celebrated author of best-selling book, Winning at New Products (Third
Edition) as well as thirteen other highly acclaimed books
- Published 100+ academic articles
- Recipient of numerous prestigious awards
- Internationally renowned for pioneering research in New Product Development
- Spent 35+ years studying the practices and pitfalls of 3,000+ new product
- Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Technology Management at the Michael
G. DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, Canada
- Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Business Markets
(ISBM) at Penn State University, USA
- World’s Top Innovation Scholar (Journal of Product Innovation
Management, Vol.24 No.3: pp 214-229, May 2007)
Scott J. Edgett
- Pioneer of portfolio management for new products
- Author of best-selling book, Portfolio Management for New Products
(Second Edition) as well as eight other highly acclaimed books
- Published 60+ academic research and business articles
- 20+ years experience working with organizations in product innovation
and advising business executives
- Former Professor of Marketing at the Michael G. DeGroote School of
Business, McMaster University, Canada
- Faculty Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Business Markets
(ISBM) at Penn State University, USA
- CEO Product Development Institute and Stage-Gate International
- World’s Top 10 Innovation Scholar (Journal of Product Innovation
Management, Vol.24 No.3: pp 214-229, May 2007)
for Scott Edgett and Robert Cooper |
|“A great book for anyone who wants to develop winning new
Charles S. Coffey, EVP
|"[Product leadership] is a quite
complete package on the management of product development... Cooper's
stature as a researcher in the field is superb."
Journal of Management
|“Bob Cooper’s pioneering work has set the standard
for excellence in product development,”
|“The best source for how to start or perfect a winning new
Thomas E. Chorman, CFO
Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
|“A must-read for the business executives concerned with improving
the return from new product R&D. The authors do a great job of
laying out the pros and cons of the latest methods for effective portfolio
management and project selection and show how to integrate them in
a workable process.”
Dr. Robert S. Wood, Director of Research
Rohm and Haas Company
|"Cooper brings a systematic approach to the strategy and tactics
of product development…The message to senior people is this:
innovate or die! What Cooper introduces to the equation is discipline.
Discipline is setting strategic direction, in committing resources
to those projects that support it and in defining and managing the
product development process…Cooper’s lists of action items
and critical success factors are useful and informative…As a
textbook for preparing for preparing for product development war, it’s
worth having on the bookshelf.”
|“This book is an invaluable guide to managers in helping
then to ‘select’ the right projects for development and
marketing. Cooper is right on target.”
Robert E. Davis
Procter & Gamble
Michelle Jones, EVP
Product Development Institute
Phone: +1-905-637-5545 ext. 223