Effectiveness vs. Efficiency:  Communicating effectively to define new products and services…

The conceptual and complex nature of early discovery work requires a communication approach that is repetitive, iterative and crosses departmental boundaries. This rather time consuming approach may seem less efficient however, it has the benefit of producing higher quality product and service concepts.

In this early research and development phase effectiveness is the name of the game.

For example: marketing should involve key stakeholders from downstream departments - design, engineering and operations - in the early customer engagement activities. These organizations benefit from an early information gathering process. Experiencing customers in their environment and participating first-hand in customer engagement activities allows these professionals to look behind the traditional, quantitative marketing research data and gain deeper insights in how to respond to unmet customer needs and opportunities.

The same is true for the early technology and concepting activities in your research and design departments. It is high leverage to integrate key stakeholders from upstream departments such as sales, marketing and service in the solution discovery process. This approach enhances the quality of new product and service concepts. It also creates a higher level of organizational ownership and increases the likelihood of new ideas successfully entering your execution funnel.

Approaching early development activities primarily from an efficiency perspective can really compromise the innovative output of your teams.

We can all relate to the “telephone game” where a simple phrase is communicated sequentially and independently in a larger circle of people. The end result of this game is that the original statement gets watered down or even lost during the process.

Organizational leaders should encourage an environment that involves all key internal stakeholders in the early discovery phases of a program.

Sequential and independent communication processes that rely on handing-off from one department to the next will greatly compromise the creative output of your innovation teams.