Over the years, we have presented more than 150 posts about product management. Today, we consider how to devise a better product innovation strategy. With a lot to learn.


From Pragmatic: How to Devise a Better Product Innovation Strategy

This post highlights key points from a new Pragmatic Institute E-book:

Yes, being innovative requires ideation. But it also involves time and financial investment. Product or feature development. Company-wide buy-in. Expert communication strategies. And testing and market adoption. In fact, the work of innovation doesn’t have a start date or stop date. It’s a practice, a mindset, and always ongoing.. There isn’t a right way to approach innovation. There is only what works (or doesn’t) for your organization. This E-book outlines four common approaches to innovation. (1) Design thinking. (2) Rapid prototyping. (3) Lean innovation. (4) Open innovation.

Levels of Innovation

Why does your company want to innovate? Maybe the goal is to capture more market share. The objective might be to reach an existing market with a new delivery method. Innovation could mean trying to create an entirely new industry. No organization openly admits, “We don’t want to be innovative.” They never say, “More than anything, we want to maintain the status quo over the next decade.” However, many companies don’t invest in or value the work it takes to discover and implement innovative ideas. The problem isn’t that companies don’t want to improve products and services. Instead, there might be a simple disconnect between what it means to innovate.

Successful innovation projects begin by understanding what level of innovation leadership is comfortable pursuing. With Incremental Innovation, companies seek the lowest risk. Thus resulting in transformations in the core product. Through Breakthrough Innovation, companies expand the existing business to reach new customers. In Transformational Innovation, companies face the great amount of risk. And it involves creative new products that serve new markets.

Design Thinking

By using this approach, innovation begins with the end in mind. It’s no longer an interesting “invention.” It’s an idea that is custom-built to solve a specific market problem. Thus, the work leans heavily on questioning everything. From the problem to assumptions and implications. The right questions create flexible thinking. Which leads to creative solutions. The goal? To find the intersection between what is desirable for end-users, what is technologically feasible, and what is viable for the company.

Rapid Prototyping

The purpose of this method is to transform ideas into tangible products as early in the production process as possible. The objective is to fail early and fail often. Ideally, this model will help teams avoid creating expensive products, features, or services that won’t serve the market effectively.

Lean Innovation

The objective here. To eliminate waste, reduce costs, improve quality, and increase speed throughout the innovation process. Lean involves defining the right systems and processes to improve efficiency. The strength of lean innovation is its foundational focus on continuous improvement. When coupled with an ongoing, repeatable process, innovation generates the highest chance of being successful. Since lean innovation leverages the concept of rapid prototyping, it can also save companies from over-investing in ideas that aren’t likely to succeed in the marketplace. As a result, organizations will have the resources to test more ideas.

Open Innovation

This model values external inputs (customer feedback, partners, and the public) just as much as internal inputs (employees, board members, R&D departments). As the organization pursues innovation. However, this process goes beyond simple crowdsourcing, user-generated content, hackathons and idea boxes. In addition, there have to be implementation expectations.


To access the full E-book, with lots of discussion and many charts, click the image.

How to Devise a Better Product Innovation Strategy


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