“Digital” is a hot theme at the moment.

In a world distinguished by an unprecedented pace of digital technology advances, Everest-high mountains of data to be navigated, and dynamic consumer and market expectations to be managed, organizations need to make some changes to innovation and new product development (NPD) strategies and processes to keep up and stay relevant. Business leaders need reliable intelligence and actionable insights to make the best decisions they can to stay on course or shift in a new direction.

And this knowledge is needed in real time. Like now. Not next week. Not when the data has been analyzed and reports written. Now. The only alternative is a crystal ball or magic mirror.

Through rose-tinted, hindsight spectacles …

A couple of years ago, I worked for a global Canadian brand that went from hero to zero within 18 months. So fast it made heads spin. Looking back, I recognize some of the critical points where knowledge based on reliable data, both from within the business and relevant sources outside the business, could have positively impacted the decisions that were made.

Speaking to some former colleagues, we all agree that at the time, as a business, we weren’t listening to what our customers wanted. We didn’t feed this intelligence into the innovation process and the NPD process wasn’t “listening” to what was happening in the market. Furthermore, the sales forecast figures captured and communicated in spreadsheets were increasingly inflated the higher up the corporate ladder the static data climbed.

Basically, the business was spending valuable resources developing new products and features that were not really in demand. Then, we spent XX millions trying to convince the global markets they needed these new features. All the while our competitors overtook us and market perception about our products just plummeted… even if some of the products and features were technologically far superior… *Sigh.*

OK, I’ve simplified the demise of this once great manufacturing company, but I’ve captured the essence none-the-less.

What if… ?

This business failure could have been avoided.

If all the digitized business processes (i.e. spreadsheets, PowerPoint® documents, ERP system, CRM system, etc.) had been connected, had been more transparent with more harmonization… if there had been just one way of analyzing all the knowledge through a cohesive lens, the outcome might have been dramatically different.

Are you future proofing your organization?

Perhaps you recognize some of the pain points I have mentioned, and maybe you are already looking at ways to keep your business ahead of the pack. Implementing digital innovation and new product development practices should not even be a question – the real question is, how are you going to go about doing this? And how can you do it with the urgency needed to stay ahead of nimble competitors? Is your business agile enough to quickly and efficiently respond to the ever-changing market place? Are you able to steer your business confidently through these choppy waters?

Your business needs the foresight that comes with transparency to a holistic dataset, enabling you to make decisions based on real-time truth. Don’t rely on stand-alone spreadsheets and presentations that inflate departmental progress and hide failures. Senior leadership needs the real facts, to see at-a-glance what’s going on across the organization, with the ability to drilldown and dive into the nitty gritty details if necessary. You need to see where you’re failing so you can learn from that and not fail again.

Maybe it is time to bring some clarity to your data with an innovation management software platform – an end-to-end system of record that helps the business execute on strategy, realize growth goals, and govern, manage, and align investments and resources across the full innovation lifecycle.

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