Playing the Game of Innovation to Win


Are you satisfied with your innovation and new product development results?

Or does your company seem to be working on a lot of new product development projects yet nothing seems to get done on time? And what does get done lacks impact resulting in lack luster growth? Or perhaps you have great technology but you are struggling in identifying a viable market opportunity to commercialize it?

Introducing innovative new products doesn’t need to be a mystery. There are specific skills, methods and practices associated with developing innovative new products that can help any company improve its ability to detect, define, design, develop and deliver the best ideas with the best chance of success.

Wouldn’t it be a lot more fun if your new product launches are met with enthusiasm and consumer demand? Sound impossible? It’s not.

If it’s that easy, why haven’t you already solved this?

Dr. Robert Cooper, a recognized thought leader in new product development, identified that only 11% of product development failures are for technical reasons . The predominant cause of new product failure are marketing and market related issues including the development of products the customer did not want and the development of ‘me too’ products.

Even with the best engineering and manufacturing practices in place, if we start with an ill-conceived product concept nothing in the engineering and manufacturing processes can change the inevitable outcome: A product that the customers simply don’t want or value.

Why aren’t you achieving the results you desire?

The three main issues preventing companies from achieving new product development success are:

1. The incremental “me-too” product doldrums

Many companies are stuck on “me-too” products and struggle to launch truly breakthrough new products. Seems like nothing launched is new or bold. They barely tread water and are slowly losing customers.

2. “Too many opportunities but not enough resources” dilemma

Sometimes companies have lots of ideas, but not enough resources to act on all of them, and no consistent way to select the best ideas from the marginal ideas.

There are too few of the right kind of projects – the bolder innovations. Scarce and valuable resources get wasted on mediocre or low value projects.

The truly deserving projects don’t receive the resources they should. The result is good projects are starved for resources and move at a crawl or simply don’t get done.

3. “The Solution Looking for a Problem” conundrum

In the ideal world, NPD teams discover customer problems first, and then develop solutions. But it often doesn’t work that way in the real world. Ideas can come from any source especially new technology capabilities.

But ultimately ideas need to address big enough problems worth solving. A root cause of failure stems from not fully understanding what customers really want.

More often than not, the typical NPD team lacks a repeatable process to understand what customers want and desire. And a systematic method to translate customer needs into product requirements that reflect the true “job-to-be-done” and desired outcomes customers want.

What you really want instead

Imagine what it would be like if every product you launched was “ideal” where the customer’s reception of the product is overwhelming! The product is so unique that nobody else delivers a similar product. The product performance and quality is absolutely amazing – beats all the competition and the cost is extremely low – much lower than all the competitors!

What if you had a product development portfolio management system that creates a consistent flow of sensational new products? Where your development resources are focused on the right mix of bold new ideas and breakthrough products, and fewer me-too incremental products. Resulting in year over year growth performance significantly better than your nearest competitor.

And what if you could consistently transform new technologies into game changing new products customers enthusiastically embrace? No more wasted resources launching solutions looking for problems.

The solution? The Innovator’s Game Plan

The Innovator’s Game Plan offers a guide and game plan to reenergize and grow your business.

The Innovator’s Game Plan provides a disciplined execution and leadership framework based on the “jobs-to-be-done” and discovery driven innovation principles to manage the uncertainty and risk of the fuzzy front end of innovation.

The Innovator’s Game Plan recognizes that customer’s don’t necessarily know what they want or need until they see it or experience it. With true innovation and early adoption, there are more questions than answers. We can’t expect customers to tell us what they want when they aren’t aware of new possibilities.

The Innovator’s Game Plan provides a repeatable and proven framework to guide you through the uncertainty and risk associated with launching bold and innovative new products.


There are four key elements to the Innovator’s Game Plan

1. Business strategy and mission to set the direction of where a company will compete, and how it will win. In the innovator’s Game Plan, we define the market strategy using the jobs-to-be-done innovation framework and market lens.

2. The Design Thinker’s Triad of Success Criteria to define innovation roadmaps. The three core overlapping success elements – Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability – that must exist for a new product to be a market success.

3. The Business Model Canvas to design a business model that delivers consistent value and delight to the targeted market segments. The model provides us a simple and clear visualization to successfully address the Triad of Success Criteria

4. The innovation time horizon map to focus and manage development resources on the right balance of projects. And a technology and marketing capabilities game plan to execute your strategy to compete successfully in the future.

What makes The Innovator’s Game Plan Program Effective?

Over the years, I have had my share of successes and failures in launching new products. I asked myself: “Why were some of my products a huge successes while others were total flops?”

“How can I get better at discovering great ideas upfront and transforming them into winning new products more consistently? And how can I focus on the best opportunities while having the means and courage to discard the marginal ideas?”

Thus began my career journey to discover, understand, and codify a body of knowledge to provide a simple, repeatable and predictable innovation process that takes the uncertainty and risk out of discovering and transforming great ideas into successful new products.

What resulted is a process based on the “jobs-to-be-done” innovation theory. The jobs-to-be-done innovation method takes the guesswork and uncertainty out of the innovation process. It provides a systematic approach to discover what important jobs customers need to get done, how customers define success by expressing their desired outcomes, and what prevents them from achieving 100% satisfaction.

More than passive training and consulting, the Innovator’s Game Plan is designed to be used immediately with real issues and challenges your innovation and NPD teams are facing today. You will get results and wins early and often while building a robust and systematic innovation execution framework.

The main benefits of the program

As a result of completing the Innovator’s Game Plan program, you will have a repeatable innovation framework to guide your team in doing the necessary upfront discovery and vetting activities to identify problems worth solving.  And predictable systems to transform initial concepts into solutions that customers want and value.

You can expect a steady stream of successful new product introductions while avoiding the frustration and waste of launching product failures.

Your company will enjoy a loyal and growing base of raving fans while leaving your competitors flatfooted and scrambling to catchup.

You will have a robust new product portfolio management system to focus your resources on developing fewer but better projects, and the right mix of products in alignment with your overall corporate strategy resulting in consistent topline growth and shareholder value.

You will have energized and motivated leaders and employees who love what they do and realize their full potential in creating customer value and making a positive difference in improving your customers’ desired outcomes.


Further Benefits include:

Your company will evolve into an innovation and design thinking culture. An innovation culture stays ahead because it is a change agent and not because it is content with protecting its position. It is pervasive and externally oriented based on an ongoing discipline and shared understanding of creating value for customers.

By practicing the principles of the Innovator’s Game Plan, your NPD team will improve its ability to listen, observe and anticipate what the market wants, and respond with solutions the market values. Your team will understand what customers want before customers know what they want. And define solutions that help customers get important jobs done better, faster and cheaper.

You will use “Project After Action Reviews” as a key learning tool to identify and fix the most critical barriers to achieving faster product development cycles and customer value.

And you will have a set of integrated metrics and dashboards to guide your teams and project leaders in being market leaders in the arenas you choose to compete in and win.

What’s in the program?

There are three phases in the Innovators Game Plan lasting about six months to a year depending on the unique challenges your company faces:

Phase 1: Innovation Growth Engine Diagnostic and Performance Tune-up

The program begins with you and your key leaders responsible for creating new products and ventures  by defining a clear picture of what “success looks like” and your desired outcomes in implementing and executing an innovation and new product development growth engine.

We will then do an honest assessment of your currently reality – and design a customized Innovator’s Game Plan to move you from where you are today to your desired future state.

Phase 2: The Program – Developing Skills & Practices and Delivering Results

Customized to your situation and goals, we will develop a set of practice, skills and tools your NPD teams must master to achieve “success” defined in phase 1.

Using specific opportunities identified in phase 1 helps facilitate learning while achieving early wins and results making immediate and positive impacts on everyone while achieving your top and bottom line performance objectives.

Topics and practices can include:

• Creating and mastering a robust and repeatable idea to launch framework to consistently discover and transform great ideas into market successes.

• Discovering “bold new ideas” and business opportunities by understanding the important jobs customers want done, their desired outcomes, and what prevents them from achieving 100% satisfaction.

• Creating a Product Development Portfolio System to manage precious development resources on pursing the right mix of business opportunities to achieve consistent top and bottom line growth.

This stage is all about delivering results through mastery of new practices and skills and overcoming blocks that prevent your team from executing. Typically, this will involve about 12 days of workshops and other learning events, supplemented by specific innovation leadership coaching and training on how to better understand the jobs your customers want to get done and how they define success in getting their jobs done.

Phase 3: After Action Review, Reinforcements and Continuous Improvement

In the final stage, we will evaluate the team’s results and what needs to be done moving forward to hone your Innovator’s Game Plan to achieve sustainable market leadership and a competitive advantage.

We examine what we learned, what’s working and what’s not working. What we will keep on doing and what we will stop doing. And what other things we need to be doing to achieve a steady stream of great new products to create raving fans and market leadership.

Is the Innovator’s Game Plan program right for you?

This program is right for you if you are a leader tasked with creating new ventures and product innovations, and are seeking new skills and knowledge to improve your and your team’s ability to define, develop and deliver products that customers will embrace and adopt.

You want to reduce your risk in launching new-to-market products and avoid launching a “solution looking for a problem.” And you want to improve your decision making skills and processes in choosing the right innovations and new product development projects to achieve your strategic and business goals.

This program is right for you if your company is experiencing disappointing sales and revenue growth from new products introductions during the past three years. You have development project overload and nothing is getting done on time. And what does get done lacks impact, resulting in lack luster growth.

If you are looking to improve your innovation and new product development leadership and performance – the Innovator’s Game Plan is right for you.

Here’s how to find out more

If you have read this far, and you think you might be interested in the program, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary Innovator’s Strategy Session. This no-obligation meeting allows you to find out more about the program and whether it’s right for you.

In that session we’ll explore what you need to move your business forward and what you’ve learned from past innovation efforts. We will explore the challenges you and your NPD team face, what kind of results you’d like to see instead, and whether this program could help or not. Whatever the outcome, you’ll leave the conversation clear about the issues you’re facing and excited about what’s possible.

The session will take about an hour and can be done in person or by phone. Click here to book your Innovator’s  Strategy Session. I look forward to our conversation.

With best wishes,


Kevin B. McGourty
President and CEO
iNPD Center, Inc.
Certified New Product Development Professional (NPDP)

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The Innovator’s Playbook

Discovering and Transforming Great Ideas Into Breakthrough New Products

The Innovator's Playbook

The Innovator’s Playbook provides an innovation framework based on the "jobs-to-be-done" innovation theory pioneered by Clayton Christensen and others. This proven methodology frames innovation opportunities from the customer's perspective to create products and services that match the needs of the people who use it.


Download a Preview Copy of the Innovator's Playbook

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