Throughout his career, Mr. Faigen has been laying-flat the issues that block innovative new products from becoming successful businesses. His unique perspective has been shaped by his hands-on experience in Research, Development, Product Test, Customer Experience, Product Management, Marketing, Sales & Brand, founding and leading three software startups, and over 20 years in consulting. He created New Product Business as a pragmatic approach to drive successful commercial outcomes amidst the inherent uncertainty that stymies innovation.
Each of his functional positions taught him how to master pieces of innovation’s complexity. His career started in high-tech R&D which was seen by that industry as the natural owner of innovation since it created new products. His roles in Marketing, Sales and Brand introduced the need for a strong voice-of-customer to guide a new product’s value proposition. Leading Product Management for a $3Bn hardware/software company highlighted the need for portfolio planning and product life cycle management. And consulting to dozens of clients across industries highlighted the need for speed of action across the entire business to scale commercial success for new businesses.
These lessons, however, only partially answered the question, “why do companies struggle with getting their desired financial outcomes from new products”?
Over the previous 20 years, the game clock was reset to “Digital” challenging every company to bring new products to market faster. The common (and flawed) approach was to focus was on developing new products, not new product businesses, but even within new product development, there were significant challenges. Mr. Faigen helped several clients accelerate their internal clocks so they could compete at Digital speed, however, these early engagements also uncovered related problems that had to be flattened for a company to be commercially successful at innovation. Specifically, companies needed a new decision-making model to deal with innovation’s inherently high-level of uncertainty. Uncertainty impacts how projects are funded, how many projects need to be undertaken in parallel, the criticality to use learning as a measure of innovation progress, and the way a company should organize.
Mr. Faigen responded to the need for tools to handle this uncertainty and gathered, built, and incorporated them into the New Product Business approach.
Mr. Faigen holds a Bachelors and Masters in Mechanical Engineering and is a Professional Engineer.
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Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. All (CLP) programs are implemented over a sustainable period of time, usually between 1-4 years, incorporating 12-48 monthly workshops and professional support is consistently provided during this time by qualified learning providers and where appropriate, by Accredited Consultants.
New Product Business
Uncertainty is what separates the core business from innovation and is the force that must be mastered to be commercially successful at innovation. The core business has repeatable business processes, built on the certainty that each process fits into a larger machine that delivers value to customers while returning financial value to the company. Innovation, however; requires the creation of “new” – some mixture of a new product sold through a new channel to a new customer segment in a new geography at an unknown price against a future (and unknown) set of competitors. The New Product Business approach embraces uncertainty, providing tools and techniques to shape uncertainty into successful business outcomes.
Harnessing innovation’s power requires focusing its application. Over the past few years, New Product Business has helped companies develop growth strategies that link the development of new product businesses to meet/exceed their growth objectives. Putting innovation in service to a company’s strategy is quite powerful as it harnesses innovation’s strengths to achieve specific outcomes, such as entering the SMB market or growing a new digital line of business with their current customers.
Developing a strategy and leveraging innovation to create new products and grow new businesses sounds straightforward, yet few companies have been successful in doing so. The roadblocks to success require mastering decision-making at digital speeds while driving in a fog of uncertainty. Specifically, this means companies must acquire new skills to handle this unfamiliar terrain and to make progress when they “don’t have all the data”. For example, how do you know you are making sufficient progress if winning the game is measured in revenue and your team is in the product development stage of the process? How do you create a new business portfolio and manage the investments you make in it against the uncertain returns it might produce in the future? How do you make bets on businesses in your portfolio but still stay flexible enough to add “better” ideas when they surface?
The New Product Business provides the tools to make these decisions at speed, maintaining momentum towards building your new businesses. To navigate innovation’s unfamiliar territory, the tools and the entire New Product Business are built on three design points. The first is to make Time your greatest ally, by measuring it in hours and days, not months and quarters. This is followed by measuring Progress by the amount of uncertainty you have burned down, daily strengthening the belief in your new businesses. Lastly, you must learn from your mistakes, flexibly Pivoting to adapt – decisions made today will likely need to be adjusted going forward.
New Product Business incorporates these three design features into each step of the process. While it is a continuous, fluid process, it is useful to view it as four integrated actions with the emphasis shifting over time. The four actions are Design, Build, Launch and Scale. Unlike standard business processes which are sequential, the uncertainty in innovation mandates evaluating these four actions simultaneously. You can think of your new businesses as a rolling ball that is both picking up speed and adjusting its direction as it rolls towards its market and its future commercial success. The ball is guided and advanced by these four actions. While it is obvious that at the onset you must consider Design and Build, New Product Business teams also consider how they will Launch and Scale their future businesses. At the start, the level of emphasis will naturally be higher on Design and Build shifting later to Launch and Scale but at all times, all four actions are in play. As the business “ball” rolls towards its market, Launch and Scale gain emphasis, with Design and Build diminishing but still important, as the team needs to also be continuously considering the backlog of product enhancement and what it will learn from early adopters.
Putting the New Product Business into practice increases commercial outcomes by increasing the size of the win (more revenue, more profit, more new customers…); shortening the time it takes to get from an idea to launching each new business; and increasing the certainty of business viability throughout the entire life cycle.
Going forward, innovation will increase in value, as consumers continue to demand higher levels of service, convenience, and personalization; and digital enables new market entrants to knock down the walled gardens created by long-term competitors. Companies will need to master innovation if they want to thrive. They will need to be fast-to-market with products and services that exceed customer needs and wants – faster than they are today. Product life cycles will continue to shrink which will translate to shrinking core businesses and a higher reliance on financial returns from products that are less than 2 or 3 years old. Companies will need to at least become “good” at innovation to keep up with the market. Those that become “great” at innovation will be able to break away from the pack, opening sizable gaps in revenue, profit, and customer loyalty.
The path to harnessing innovation is paved by adopting New Product Business process across your company. Today, most companies operate a core business that overwhelms their innovation efforts on many counts. Their core businesses have more people, drive significantly more revenue and profit, and are strongly linked to their brand and marketing efforts. Shifting market demands and competitive actions are cutting into this core business, eroding market share, revenue and profit for mature products and services. Each loss in revenue in these core products adds to the decibel level of the alarm to place innovation at the center of a company’s business design.
Today’s corporate organization design, however, is locked in a century-old pattern, based on the design principle of maximizing efficiency. Office automation followed manufacturing automation with a zeal for doing more with less. While successful, it has deeply ingrained a culture of functional silos, where employees spend their entire careers within the confines of a single function such as Marketing or Engineering. While employees work for a company, they rarely see how the company’s other functions operate and more to the point, have only a vague idea of how a new business could be created. Who would I work with in the other departments? Who would fund a new project? How would my career be advanced?
Now is the time to reinvent the company design, leveraging innovation to create new product businesses that can shape a strong corporate future. This will require changing several aspects of the current corporate design, most notably the corporate culture and its patterns for decision making. New Product Business creates a culture where experimentation and learning thrive as multi-disciplined teams explore the inherent uncertainties in their business plans. It harnesses the power of these multi-disciplined teams, integrating their viewpoints to sharpen and accelerate their decision making. It replaces sequential decision making with an integrated view of Design, Create, Launch and Scale, and through this experience, new company leaders emerge. These leaders, and the teams they worked in, replace the dreaded feeling of not having enough time to get their jobs done with the ability to master time and have it work in their favor. These leaders have a passion for creating a new future, replacing “this is how we do it around here” with an awareness that future success is based on risk taking, a keen sense of the customers they serve and a portfolio of new businesses continuously in development.
New Product Business enables executives and teams to drive innovation into the very core of their company and create the needed commercial horsepower to drive a stream of future businesses that will significantly contribute to a company’s long-term growth.
New Product Business – Part 1- Year 1
- Part 1 Month 1 Current State
- Part 1 Month 2 The Future
- Part 1 Month 3 Multi-disciplined Teams
- Part 1 Month 4 Innovation Lifecycle
- Part 1 Month 5 Innovation Portfolios
- Part 1 Month 6 Business Plans
- Part 1 Month 7 Roadmap Governance
- Part 1 Month 8 Agile Innovation
- Part 1 Month 9 Rolling Ball
- Part 1 Month 10 Build/Test/Learn Cycle
- Part 1 Month 11 First Projects
- Part 1 Month 12 Measuring Success