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Product Portfolio Management

Breaking Down Brand-Driven Innovation Into Next Steps

Published By Carrie Nauyalis

If you caught the Innovate or Die Webcast earlier this month, you heard from Chris Andrews, Senior Analyst of Forrester Research that approximately 80% of senior-level executives say that innovation is a priority for their company and that this priority has been on the increase post-recession. And while it’s all fine and dandy to say that innovation is a priority in your organization, how do you actually enable brand-driven innovation in your organization and truly drive sustainable results?

Luckily, this was the exact topic presented by Hank Izzo, VP of Snack Innovation at Mars, Inc. and Jon Wilson, VP of Corporate Innovation at Kimberly-Clark at the 2010 Consumer Goods Growth and Innovation Forum. The session provided concrete strategies of how to impact innovation processes and culture. Here are few of the highlights:

  • Innovation should be an integrated, systematic process — it’s not something that should be done on the side when you have time, back in some broom closet or laboratory. It needs to be out in the open, woven into the fabric of every employee’s job description, and the culture of the company as a whole.
  • Clearly and simply understand your brand:

– WHAT is your brand all about?
– HOW can you deliver against that brand promise?
– WHY will consumers be inspired?

  • Evaluate each new product idea or product improvement against the same criteria. Wilson shared with the crowd the questions used as criteria at Kimberly-Clark:

– Strategic role in the portfolio
– Articulate the need emotionally
– Target audience, both broad and specific
– Business opportunity
– Frame of reference, or category
– Points of difference from the competition
– Functional support, or reason to believe in those points of difference
– Product offering

  • Think about things from the market mindset early. What will disrupt the market? What will inspire the market? Start from there and innovate, as opposed to starting from a product perspective.

As articulated by these innovation experts, it’s not rocket science to drive innovation into the organization, it just takes a process, a plan, and the time and resources to be able to execute. Random innovation is not likely to drive predictable results.

So, what are you waiting for?

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Written by Carrie Nauyalis Contractor - Product Development

Carrie Nauyalis brings her passion, experience, and thought leadership in the product portfolio management industry to her current role as Executive in Residence at Planview. As an EIR, Carrie is collaborating on market research and sharing best practices with Planview prospects and customers. She is an active speaker, MBA guest lecturer, blogger, and vlogger on all things PPM, with warm places in her heart for innovation, calculating ROI, and agile. Carrie spent 19 years with Planview in various positions, including global consulting, product management, and as the solution evangelist for innovation and new product development. Prior to Planview, Carrie held multiple systems engineering positions with Emerson Process. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Truman State.