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Single versus multi-product strategies: What’s the difference and why it matters


Paul O’Connor is the Founder and Managing Director of The Adept Group, an organization focusing on product line velocity to improve innovation in mid-size and large companies. He has led innovation initiatives at Johnson & Johnson, Exxon, Pfizer, WL Gore, and Procter & Gamble. Paul is a consultant, advisor, and author of The Profound Impact of Product Line Strategy: Your Guide to Highly Productive Innovation and Product Management. He was a contributing editor to R&D Magazine and is widely published in business journals and publications, contributing to PDMA’s Handbook of Product Development and writing PDMA’s 2004 ToolBook. Paul holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey and an MBA from Babson College near Boston. He also teaches master classes in creating and carrying out smart product line strategies. Paul joins me today to discuss single versus multi-product mindsets, revealing the differences and why they matter. Paul shares how most companies have a foundation of single product line thinking, with a perspective that overlooks how multiple products complement each other in the market. We discuss the corporate hierarchy, the core parts of systems, and strategies that link high-level aspirational thinking with those working in the trenches. Paul shares the three components of product line velocity and systems thinking and explores how these can help a company achieve its defined attributes while supporting product innovation.

“Even though we learn all these best practices about how to take one product and move it through a company, the bigger deal is about how the whole set of products work together and how to make them deliver more than just one-off developments.” - Paul O’Connor

This week on Innovation Talks:
  • Why most companies have an operational foundation based upon a single product mindset and the shortfalls of a single-minded approach
  • Why it is vital to set up multiple products and position them in the market so they complement one another
  • How independent product-line thinking makes innovation, moving into new business models, and pivoting a challenge
  • Corporate hierarchy and the missing link between the high-level aspirational business strategy and the product line roadmap
  • The three dimensions of the product line velocity: cashflow, competitiveness, and customer satisfaction
  • The systems viewpoint and the three core parts that drive most of the desired attributes
  • Taking stock of where you are and how to get to the next level of performance
Connect with Paul O’Connor:

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