Front End Findings.

By Posted in - innovation on May 22nd, 2015 upstream-pillars-of-innovation-01

You always love to hear great things from clients well after an assignment. Catching up with a design-innovation lead about our past efforts together, we received news about sales performance of a product that launched earlier this year. It blew away the historical bests of any previous product launch in its first quarter. Even with an eventual decline in sales, it’s on track to be the greatest selling product in the history of the business by a wide margin. I’m proud to say that product emerged from a front end approach we helped develop and execute. Yet despite this successful case study, the business still agonizes spending any resources on the techniques that ultimately produced it.

Frustrated and a bit confused, this led us to break down the costs and time it took to launch the last five products which delivered mediocre sales. One of which was a complete bomb. Needless to say, costs were in excess of $10M, but more shocking was the time impact. Because the organization pursued innovation initiatives in the form of linear go-to-market projects, the last 5 launches were stacked end to end. It takes roughly year to bring a new product to market, so that means five launches = five years of total time. 5 years passed with little to no revenue growth!

So let’s get this straight – the business is sweating spending six figures annually on a front end process that’s already delivered ROI in one year, but it’s more than willing to spend millions over years to achieve at best single digit growth!?

This is the perspective we’re using to convince general management to establish a front end budget distinct from project budgets. Separating the two will lead to a portfolio of concepts from which the business can pursue multiple projects concurrently while achieving higher success rates in market.

Next time you’re having trouble making the case to invest in front end innovation, talk numbers. You can find this and other relevant blog posts at Innovation Excellence.

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