New Product Development

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How Digital Twins Are Reinventing Innovation

A digital twin is a virtual replica of an object, being, or system continuously updated with data from its physical counterpart. Supported by billions of connected global sensors, digital twins will soon exist for millions of things. Jet engines, a heart, even a city can have digital twins that mirror physical and biological properties. Real-time assessments and diagnostics will be more precise; repairs will be executed in the moment; and innovation will be faster, cheaper, and more radical.

Social Listening Is Revolutionizing New Product Development

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Social listening — analyzing what consumers say on social media — can serve as the map for a treasure hunt, allowing companies to tap into rich consumer insights in real time. Social listening is transforming how consumer product companies develop, market, and package their products to gain a competitive advantage — and we’re only just beginning to grasp the possibilities that machine learning advances will catalyze.

Making It Easier to Manage and Scale Digital Projects

  • Read Time: 10 min 

In studying agile approaches at more than 50 companies, the authors found that the organizations that achieve the most success with digital projects use processes that allow for continuous learning and that support critical business goals. With everyone following the same processes, companies do better at juggling multiple projects and reaping the benefits of scale. One of the companies studied, Johnson & Johnson, shares its approach.

Why Large Companies Struggle With Lean

Large corporations have found that applying the principles of lean is more complicated than expected. Large organizations aren’t just bigger versions of startups. To make innovation integral to the organization, there has to be a vision of where new ideas will be incubated and how they will be delivered.

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The Magic That Makes Customer Experiences Stick

Research has shown that memorable experiences can drive customer decisions as much as price and functionality. Yet there have been few meaningful improvements in customer experience over time. The missing ingredient? Emotion. Customers want their choices to align as much with their feelings and senses as with their values and ethics. The rational approaches taught at most business schools — offer more value for money, add features, make service more efficient — are not enough.

How Shared Responsibility Can Shape a Compelling Vision

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Teams perform better and are more likely to achieve the leader’s vision if they feel a shared sense of responsibility for the outcome. By communicating their rationale about how to balance priorities, a leader can help their team make decisions aligned with the collective vision even when the leader is not present. In effect, this involves scaling a sense of responsibility and creating a culture that shares the same values.

AI Can Help Us Live More Deliberately

AI spares us from many mundane, time-consuming, nerve-wracking annoyances. The problem is, such annoyances play a key adaptive function by helping us learn to adjust our conduct in relation to the world around us. But AI designers can tackle that problem through system enhancements. By incorporating cognitive speed bumps, they can prompt users to engage in reflective thought rather than “outsourcing” cognitive, emotional, and ethical labor to software.

Where China Is Leading the Mobility Revolution

  • Read Time: 5 min 

China is shaking off its reputation for “copycatting” and establishing itself as a digital leader. One of the key areas where it’s moving ahead of the U.S. and Europe is transportation. China has made strides in electronic and autonomous vehicles as well as high-speed rail in recent years — and its most important development has been to transform itself into an innovation-focused, entrepreneurial hub of technical prowess.

Nondisruptive Creation: Rethinking Innovation and Growth

Many people have come to view disruption as a synonym for innovation. This single-minded focus leads companies to overlook an alternative path to growth: the nondisruptive creation of brand-new markets where none existed before. It’s time to embrace the idea that companies can create without destroying — and expand the conversation about the problems they can solve and the opportunities they can seize.

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When Patients Become Innovators

Patients are increasingly developing sophisticated medical devices and services to meet their own needs — often without help from companies that produce or sell medical products. In this way they are able to benefit from advances that aren’t commercially available. Here, we’ll look at two examples — a solution for managing Type 1 diabetes and one for managing Crohn’s disease — and consider them within the context of the free innovation movement that’s gaining momentum across industries.

The Promise of Targeted Innovation

The biggest consumer goods companies shell out more than $1 billion a year for R&D but lately have seen no appreciable impact on their sales. That’s troubling for companies whose growth has leveled off in recent years. In contrast, some smaller competitors that spend less on R&D — but do so more shrewdly — have seen a significant boost in sales.

How to Launch Products in Uncertain Markets

How should companies launch products in times of uncertainty? Should they “wait and see” until uncertainty resolves — or commit to a full-scale launch and ride it out? Conventional wisdom says being early to market is the right choice, but that is not always the case. Many companies can benefit from a mixed, “act and see” approach.

Why High-Tech Commoditization Is Accelerating

Technology-intensive product manufacturers, automakers, or white goods makers used to be able to capitalize on their longstanding engineering and design leadership to cement their positions. But that’s no longer the case. Today, young upstarts in many product segments, especially from China, can develop world-class design and production capabilities in a short period of time. In some cases, they are closing gaps with long-established incumbents and becoming market leaders within a decade.

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Following the Digital Thread: The Digital Thread Takes Flight

  • Video | Runtime: 0:06:17

  • Read Time: 1 min 

In Part 8 of our eight-part video series, we examine how the digital thread — and its companion, the digital twin — could revolutionize not only the way we design and develop products, but the way we manufacture and service them as well.

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