Tuning the Innovation Engine

7 Ways to Improve Your Innovation Outcomes

1 Innovate faster to take costs out of the business now


CLIENT: Leading office automation supplier with significant new competition and fleeing customers

My client, the head of Product, was caught in a bind with his new product suite delayed as the company struggled with cash flow. We met with the CEO and gained their agreement to fund the new suite from cost savings. Using the talent across their organization, we identified, prototyped, and refined four initiatives. The four projects landed a stream of cost savings that accelerated his new product suite to market.


Funded a new product that drove revenue fourteen months ahead of schedule


2 Kill zombie projects to release trapped talent and funding


CLIENT: Large Insurance company with a rudderless innovation team

With a strong market position, this company invested in innovation but lacked any sense of urgency to introduce new products into the market. Working with the head of Innovation, we set the innovation clock speed to be faster than their toughest competitor. We replaced their vanity metrics with funding metrics based on learning and market outcomes; and put a premium on the talent being deployed.


Freed up 14% of the top talent and >20% of the funding


3 Join the Core Business with the Innovation Team to increase commercial impact


CLIENT: Large Financial Industry company with a shiny innovation hub but lackluster new product revenues

The Chief Innovation Officer, my client, had done a fine job attracting talent, organizing them, and managing a portfolio of innovation ideas. The lack of early engagement with the core business caused new products to die in the gap separating innovation from the core business. We instituted a new governance structure of both core and innovation team members accountable for the successful commercial outcomes of new products.


Increased new product revenues by 40% to 300%


4 Radically speed-up Innovation Cycle time


CLIENT: High-tech Consumer Goods company that couldn't say "no" to a good idea

The client had an entrepreneurial culture but had allowed the addition of the “next new feature” to dominate their decision-making, causing new products to be late to market. With the CEO, I instituted the role of a Product Owner, a governance structure to create accountability, and a sandbox the Product Owner controlled. Simultaneously, we modularized their products for the first time, creating reusable components to accelerate the time-to-market of future products.


Shortened development cycles by 15% to >100%


5 Get the customer on the development team


CLIENT: High-tech Business-to-Business company with functional silos hamstringing their innovation commercial horsepower

This global company never seemed to make their new product market forecasts. My client, the head of Marketing, and I integrated the end customers’ emotional voice into the product design, baking-in the reasons to buy. Secondly, we broke the silos weaving together Marketing, Sales and Development to create a continuous connection across the innovation life cycle.


Improved first year market performance of new products by >30%


6 Turning R&D into commercially successful products


CLIENT: Large Technology Enabled Hardware company with a stellar R&D Lab but with lagging products in the market

This company had a renowned R&D Lab, yet they struggled with shaping their new ideas into new products. With the agreement of my client, the Chief of R&D, I worked with a multi-disciplined team to write business plans for three products, fast-tracking all three through to market.


Created a multi-billion dollar product from a technology I rescued from one of their labs


7 Create innovation portfolios to clarify and de-risk your investments


CLIENT: Large Telecommunication Provider struggling with innovation funding decisions

Year over year, this company’s growing list of innovation ideas outpaced its ability to fund it and spreading the funding across the entire portfolio "starved the eagles" and "fed the turkeys". I worked with my client, the CFO, to create different investment portfolios, each with a clear thesis, e.g., “reduce operational costs by 20%", followed by implementing a portfolio governance structure based on a Power Law investment design.


Innovation portfolio performance improved >30%