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Challenges with smart product development with Huub Rutten


Dr. Huub Rutten is one of the Founding members of Sopheon and is currently the company's Vice President for Product Research and Design. After gaining a Master’s in Applied Linguistics from Radboud University in the Netherlands, Huub went on to work for several academic institutes teaching linguistics and communications.  An adjunct professor at the European Institute for Public Administration (EIPA), he then became a permanent advisor to the European Commission, counseling them on IT and policy development. Huub is instrumental in Sopheon’s development of linguistics and knowledge management technologies and continues to lead Sopheon into solutions for Innovation. He currently resides in Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands. Today's episode is part three of our four-part conversation with Dr. Huub Rutten, where we close off by discussing smart product development challenges. He reveals one of the common problems companies face is recalls and the huge cost associated with them, financially and in terms of a brand's reputation. He discusses the changes in the market over the last 70 years and why we can no longer take the attitude of post WW2 product engineers, and his fears that Agile is a framework encouraging a reversal in production ideas. We also expand on the importance of a sound governance system and how it should go hand in hand with its software system.

"If you engage the production - the manufacturing engineers - with the product engineers and the feature engineers as early as possible and they are integrated in that process, partly then you will avoid recourse. Then you will avoid quality problems." – Huub Rutten

"You have all these recalls, it's also bad for your reputation in the market. It's also bad for your, let's say, relationship with your retailers, for instance, and you will lose shelf space in the shops, and that is killing." – Huub Rutten

"Take the Boeing thing as a big example. The problem was the software engineering, and that was a small team. And they made a mistake - it as designed the program; the wrong software. And of course, it cost billions at Boeing." – Huub Rutten

"If you were to sell the product, if the plants don't agree up front that they will help to launch a new product on a certain date that is important for the company, they simply won't make the room in their plan to test it - to do the trials. – Huub Rutten

"What I'm afraid of is that Agile wants to go back to 50 years ago when the engineers were completely empowered." – Huub Rutten


This week on Innovative Talks:

  • How product recalls pose economic and reputational damage to a companies brand
  • How a big decision by a small software team cost Boeing billions of dollars
  • Why corporate goals and capacity distribution are two essential mechanisms
  • Why product management needs to be aligned with their production plants when planning a product launch
  • How the buyer’s market has become more 'market pool driven since the 1990s
  • The meaning of governance in product development
Huub Rutten:   Connect with Paul Heller:  

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