Thursday, April 21, 2011

Innovators integrate

As the economy improves, more companies are looking to create innovative new products to generate top-line growth and increase their market share. But when it comes to innovation, not all companies are created equal.

As this recent article in Businessweek points out, some companies are better than others at innovation, and the companies that are good have a few things in common.

While it's pretty obvious that having a balanced portfolio of projects, a clear set of priorities, tools for analyzing your progress, and a way to automate the process are all important ingredients for successful innovation, I’d add one more item to the mix that may not be so obvious: INTEGRATION.

The most successful innovators create teams consisting of research, design, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales and other necessary disciplines and physically locate them together. By putting all the players in the same room to do the development work, they can tackle any issues quickly and solve problems together rather than just throwing things over the wall or sending email grenades and hope everything works out.

In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, you only get one chance to impress your customers, so your product has to be right, right out of the box. Having an integrated team working on projects from start to finish increases speed to market and enhances your probability of success.

And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

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