When a successful company takes 12 years to innovate and bring a new product to market, it’s clear that something is wrong. Right?

Following the rules doesn’t pay if the product-development processes behind those rules no longer work. Yet enterprises lag on, sometimes for years, before they change bad processes.

A consumer products client hired Insigniam to provide leadership development. They also needed help developing a speed-to-market process. The problem: The company hadn’t introduced a new product in eight years. One ineffective area was their inability to reach a no-go decision stage. Proactive companies can cut their losses sooner, but this company had a tendency to hold on to a product idea — for more than a decade in one case.

Reinventing innovation

To achieve breakthrough results, enterprises need to leave the old way of doing business behind. This company was nearly 150 years old, and introducing a breakthrough idea was really scary for the team. They had countless examples of why ideas failed in the past.

This company had structure for innovation, but it needed reinvention. For starters, R&D was in charge of nearly everything until a hand-off to the commercialization and marketing organizations too late in the game.

We altered the process to include those organizations at a much earlier stage. They also added a four-person Office of Product Acceleration to act as neutral, overall accountability project management leads. About once a quarter, they bring together all of the project leads to a meeting that used to be run by the company president but is now run by the Office of Product Acceleration.

Product acceleration processes

The new structures and processes call for the introduction of three to five new products annually. The company is on track to deliver three this year.

Neutrality and accountability are huge process improvers. Use these tools to break bad processes and give your innovators the freedom to invent. You won’t be sorry.

Read more about how this enterprise restructured processes and accelerated product development in the innovation case study.

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