- Research Feature
- Read Time: 24 min
Companies create product versions from multiple components. The big challenge is how to take the available components and combine them into the product versions and product lines that will maximize profits.
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Most companies segment their markets by customer demographics or product characteristics and differentiate their offerings by adding features and functions. But the consumer has a different view of the marketplace. He simply has a job to be done and is seeking to “hire” the best product or service to do it. Marketers must adopt that perspective.
Many manufacturers have established product development activities in different countries around the world. Yet their senior managers often struggle to tie those decentralized organizations into a cohesive, unified operation that can efficiently drive growth and innovation. New empirical frameworks may help unlock practices with which managers can deploy well-coordinated global product development strategies.
Advances in development tools have tremendous potential for increasing productivity, cost savings and innovation. To reap the full benefits of such technologies, though, companies need to avoid some common pitfalls.
Many companies make incremental improvements to their service offerings, but few succeed in creating service innovations that generate new markets or reshape existing ones. To move in that direction, executives must understand the different types of market-creating service innovations as well as the nine factors that enable these innovations.
Companies should focus less on marketplace premiums for their innovations and more on opportunistically exploiting subsidies for innovations. Thus Microsoft‘s Windows 95 development effectively garnered a $900 million subsidy by drawing upon a valuable technical population to test and help improve the system. An innovation subsidy, says the author, is individuals‘ and institutions‘ cost-effective bartering of resources to reduce risk.
In a world of mobile talent, open markets and brutal competition, it’s increasingly difficult to maintain an advantage over competitors through product innovation. As a result, some companies have figured out how to outdistance rivals through customer-focused strategies that are virtually imitation-proof.
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