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Winning in an Uncertain World

Winning in an Uncertain World

40% to 75% of New Products Fail — How to Improve Your Odds of Winning! Innovation and new product development are risky. 40% to 75% of new products fail. This is not because people make dumb decisions; it’s the nature of things when you face an uncertain future. Think about it. If you could consistently produce winners (products that meet revenue and profit forecasts) you would be very rich. The good news is that you can improve the odds of winning.

First, recognize that there will be a number of factors, like market size, market share, price and such that may be very uncertain. You can identify these using a technique called “sensitivity analysis” that identifies the impact of uncertainty on each variable in your business model. Experience shows that only three to four variables will account for 90% of the impact of uncertainty on your project’s net present value. By focusing resources on these variables, you will avoid wasting time and effort on things that do not matter.

Second, success will come from assembling these carefully evaluated projects into a portfolio that compares projects based on the probability that you can successfully “pull it off” and, if you can pull it off, what the project is worth. A well-balanced portfolio will have some “sure things”, but will also have a group of risky projects that, if successful, can be blockbusters.

Why a portfolio? Early on you cannot, as noted above, consistently identify individual winners. In your portfolio, some will lose and others will win; in the aggregate you will come out ahead.

In a recent white paper by Tech-Clarity, author Jim Brown introduced the subject of Advanced PPM to differentiate the use of enhanced analytics such as those described above, to provide deeper analysis of the economics and risks and uncertainties where subjective approaches like scoring rules, scorecards and questionnaires are not adequate. You can download a reprint of this white paper to learn more.

To delve deeper into this discussion, join me at PIPELINE 2012, the Online Conference for Innovative Product Development on May 10th. My Breakout Session “Winning in an Uncertain World” will provide insights to help you improve the odds of winning using the tools of Advanced PPM — taking project and portfolio evaluation beyond scoring rules, questionnaires and other subjective methods. You can also learn more from Jim Brown who will participate in a panel discussion with Bill Poston, Managing Partner, Kalypso, and Carrie Nauyalis, Solutions Marketing Manager, Planview.

For additional information: www.smartorg.com

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Don Creswell
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Don Creswell has lead sales and marketing for SmartOrg since it was founded in 2000. In addition to directing domestic and international sales, he manages partner alliances, writes ValuePoint™, SmartOrg’s monthly e-newsletter, directs Webinar and conference programs and leads a partnership with SAP. He is currently a Fellow with the Society of Decision Professionals. Prior to founding SmartOrg, Don held senior management and executive positions at SDG Decision Systems, the Decision Quality Association, SRI International, Pan American World Airways and RCA Corporation.