The Dynamics of Break through Innovation- An analysis of HBR June 2011 Part IV

by Prtk Nayak on Thursday 7 February 2013, 5:09 PM | Category: Economy | View: 906 views



Limited Vision

Have we made the connection clear between the products we offer and the jobs they help customers do? Have some jobs grown in importance since these products were launched? If so, can any of the products we already have help customers get them done?

But if customers are using a product in a perfectly valid way that the company had not thought about, the company may be sitting on an innovation. It may simply need to align branding and messaging with the new use. Alternatively, it may be able to optimize an existing product to perform the job customers are trying to do.



All Bundled Up

Companies often bundle products together, either to increase perceptions of value among customers or to simplify the purchasing decision by combining components of a solution. Sometimes the bundling involves selling complementary items, such as shampoo and conditioner or a computer and software, together. Other times, one product is being given away with the purchase of another, such as a toy with a kid's meal.

An in hand innovation can be wrapped up in such a bundle, waiting to get out. Are some features or services in a bundled offering more innovative than others in helping customers get a job done? Affirmative responses to either question suggest opportunities to disaggregate bundles and offer innovations individually.



Unrelated Family

If companies can discover innovation in hand opportunities by selling some bundled items separately, the opposite is also true: they can create considerable additional value by selling previously unbundled items together.

To discover innovative ways of bundling current products, a company must first take a step back and ask: What job do these products help a customer get done? Keeping in mind that the same product can be hired for multiple jobs, the company should identify all the possibilities.



Overdesigned for the Masses

Value begins to deteriorate for many people in the market because the cutting edge offerings are overdesigned  for their use .I n that situation ,a company can find innovation in hand opportunities by reducing the number of product features for the less demanding segment and creating what Clay Christensen has called a “good enough” product. Simplifying a product may not seem very exciting, but a company must consider the costs of inaction. If a company can do it, so can a competitors, and it's better to beat them to the punch. The upside is that an offering with fewer features can expand the entire market by making a product line accessible to segments that hadn't considered it before.

A product is overdesigned for a segment if its member's don't consider the secondary and tertiary needs the product addresses to be important. A company should ask itself if features can be pared back or removed because they are intended to satisfy needs of relatively low importance to the segment.

AS PETER DRUCKER once wrote, a company has only two basic functions: marketing and innovation. To win customers and stay ahead of the competition, innovation is critical. However, in searching for the next great thing, companies should be careful not to overlook commercially viable offerings that they already have under their noses. These can be brought to market faster and more cheaply than ideas still on the drawing board, and often, at much lower risk. To amend the familiar proverb: An innovation in hand is worth two in the lab.

Even when money is tight, it's possible to launch new offerings that excite customers and respond to unattended needs. The trick is to find assets already in hand that can be brought to market with minimal effort and resources.

Manager should look for six kinds of “in hand” innovation:

1.      Innovations that were previously developed but never launched, owing to circumstances that may have changed.

2.      Features of past products that may meet newly critical customer needs.

3.      Existing offerings that should be repositioned, because customers like them for unforeseen reasons.

4.      Elements of bundled offerings that could stand alone.

5.      New combinations of elements, in which the bundled value of customers is greater than the sum of the parts.

6.      Overdesigned offerings that could be pared down for less demanding customer segments.


Innovation is associated in many minds with bold bets on next-generation solutions. But for marketers with little appetite for high risks and distant paybacks, in innovation in the hand is worth two in the lab.




















1.      The Challenges of Innovation -  by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Businessweek, August,2008

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