Leading Change Through Integrated Product Development Commerce Essay


Product Innovation: Leading Change through Integrated Product Development deals with all-inclusive, modern framework for managing product innovation and the related new-product development (NPD) process in complex and challenging business environments. Product innovation involves the conceptualization, design, development, validation, and commercialization of new products and processes that provide superior solutions to the needs and expectations of customers, stakeholders, and society. Product innovation is an essential strategic approach for creating competitive advantages in the dynamic, global business environment.

There are many factors like globalization, social, political, and economic pressures; technological innovation and turbulent market conditions and trends that have shortened the life cycles of product and created need for better, cheaper, cleaner, safer, and more-effective products. Product innovation is an approach that lays stress on developing new solutions that provide encouraging benefits to customers and stakeholders. Again, according to the esteemed author product innovation is taken for a fundamental management construct, used for creating new products, giving a boost to existing products, and solving difficulties product related to the customers and stakeholders. With a dramatic rise in new-product development programs, leading business corporations around the world are trying their best to improve their new-product development processes, capabilities, and approaches to improve integration and to be more proactive in meeting the realities of changing business landscapes. Entrepreneurs, in ordinary course, start their businesses with the introduction of a new product or service. Existing businesses are carried on by commercializing new products to complement or improve, or replace existing products and product lines. Product innovation and new-product development are arduous journeys for most of the companies, especially for those who are with scanty resources. There are many problems and risks because of the ever-changing landscape of demanding customers, concerned stakeholders, and government mandates, and the hurly-burly in the business environment. Successful development and commercialization of a new product or service are the main objectives and preferred outcomes of product innovation. Product innovation is motivated by the strategic context of the organization and the need to improve business scenarios continuously keeping in view the changing business environment. Foreseeing change and prompt responding to the dynamics of the business environment through product innovation are significant forerunners for achieving sustainable competitive positions and outstanding performance. Changing business conditions and tendencies require a high level of sophistication of management to get on with a continuously growing world. Author contends that the Innovation and leadership are pivotal means for turning challenges into opportunities, lessening the burden of existing problems, and carving out the future world.

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Theoretical aspect of the Product innovation is the linking of strategic context with NPD programs. Product innovation brings into consideration the why, what, who, and how. It, Infact, is the framework for planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating new products, and for converting opportunities into realities using sophisticated processes, practices, methods, and techniques. Product innovation emphasise on integrating the capabilities and resources of the organization into an active and creative entity for developing new solutions that go beyond customer and stakeholder expectations. Product innovation gives a broad perspective on creating new products. New-product development is engaged in certain processes and methods for achieving results and success. NPD methodologies have grown over last 20 years from simple methods to highly integrated and fully articulated processes using sophisticated management techniques to achieve creativity, learning, speed, quality, performance, reliability, and value creation. New-product development brings into use process management or project-management methods for identifying, analyzing, selecting, developing, and launching new-product opportunities. Integrated product development (IPD) is considered to be the prevailing product-innovation approach that is used by most global corporations. IPD is the parallel development of new products and processes which use cross-functional teams that ushers in collaboration and coordination between the participants within the organization and are strategically associated with the needs of customers and stakeholders. IPD has grown over the last decade to include manifold sophisticated management processes. Author holds that today, customers, stakeholders as well as society look forward to and demand better products and services that meet the needs of all constituents. The worthy book makes use of a multi-dimensional approach for developing new products and services in a business environment of fleeting changes and high expectations. The very basic methodologies include an integrated perspective that links the external dimensions and the internal capabilities for making and implementing flexible and effective NPD programs. The NPD framework which has been discussed in the book is based on an enterprise-management model that is used to depict and analyze the business environment and the indispensable dimensions of customers, markets, stakeholders, competitors, supply networks, related industries, and the infrastructure. Enterprise management involves the integration of strategic management and the operational aspects of an organization with all of the external constituents and forces influencing the business. It is a fixed system that cover the whole, both internal and external, and the present and the future.

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The purpose of the book is to portray, assess, and apply the constructs, methods, techniques, and processes to enable the managers, professionals, and practitioners to be more successful and effective in designing, developing, and commercializing new products and services. The book is intended to serve business practitioners and students. It is meant to give guidance and support in formulating and executing NPD programs.

User can adapt methods and approaches for real-world NPD situations or can be used by students in developing a theoretical NPD program to accomplish the requirements of a graduate-level course related to the subject of the book. Irrespective of the use, the constructs lays focus on the pragmatic aspects of new-product development. The topics have been presented in a style that permits the reader to focus concentration on the subject matter. Footnotes in the book have been used to provide the scholarly groundwork, to give details of certain topics in lucid detail when necessary, and/or to offer different points of view from other authors. The book throws light on NPD processes that are considered to be the most appropriate for incremental innovations. It includes enterprise management and stakeholder-based thinking with the traditional focuses on customers, markets, and competition to give provision to a richer level of sophistication by adding in the multifaceted forces impinging on NPD opportunities and challenges.

The main objective of 21st NPD thinking is to increase the value proposition. The value proposition is the critical perspective of product innovation. Customers look for value when they purchase products and services and want the benefits derived from innovative solutions. They want the solutions not the products. Likewise, the components of the enterprise, seek value and pins hope for a balanced portfolio of positive results. Product innovation is not a futile exercise where customers and producers win and stakeholders and society lose. It is all about creating the new products that are thought to be sustainable solutions for the future.

Author shows that the book has been divided into four parts.

Part I gives an introduction of product innovation, the strategic logic of new-product development, the fundamental strategies for developing new products, the organizational aspects, and an overview of a "standardized" NPD process. The principal organizational model occupy the development and application of the cross-functional team with participants at the same time as developing new products based on internal and external resources.

Part II lays focus on the "fuzzy front-end" of the product innovation which includes the idea generation, concept development and selection, and the definition of phases of the NPD process. The fuzzy front-end is the conceptual level that makes an analysis and settles on the viability and suitability of the new-product candidate(s) and paves the way for the design and development of the new product(s). It consists of the first round of assessments for determining whether to invest into the new-product opportunity(s), and how to work out a game plan that makes specific details of the product and process to steer the organization.

Part III looks at the methods and techniques that are used to design and develop the product and market and financial aspects of the NPD process. It encompasses the essential elements that are used during the NPD process and articulates the central objectives, strategies, techniques, and programs concerned in deciding the appropriate courses of action related to the developing new products. This part also provides the methods and techniques for making the decisions on conceptual-level as well as the design and development of decisions during the later phases.

Part IV brings into discussion the operational level of new-product development. It contains the design and development, validation, pre-commercialization, and product launch.

The last chapter offers concluding remarks and extends some insights into the future directions of integrated product development.

The book suggests guidelines and templates for planning, developing, implementing, evaluating, and leading NPD programs. It gives an introduction of a "standardized" NPD process to give details, examine, and discover the complexities involved in commercializing new products. The standardized NPD process comprises the fundamental elements that most new products map out and programs should have. However, it should be worthy to note that not all of the elements of the standardized NPD process are suitable for every situation. Indeed, it is the duty of the practitioners to settle on the vital requirements for their situation and adapt the NPD process to suit their business conditions.

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On the whole, the objective of this book is to give an orderly framework for developing new products harnessing a process-management approach. Flow charts, templates, and suggested techniques have been given to direct the practitioner through the process. From the user's perspective, the challenge is to adjust or modify the standardized approaches to fit a particular situation. The process of creating a new product is exhilarating, challenging, and gratifying and at the same time it requires eagerness, creativity, and commitment. Product innovation is many-sided, requiring input and collaboration from every function of the organization, and each and every participant. It makes many internal and external participants to take part, including possible customers, suppliers, and interested stakeholders.

Successful NPD programs, in general, have five crucial aspects: the Plan, the Program, the Process, the People, and the Product. The plan gives the direction, the program offers the vehicle, the process gives the pathway, the people are considered to be the means, and the new product is the destination. New-product development offers the mechanisms to make the transition from the present to the future; from a mere idea to reality; from challenge to reward. Product innovation is motivated by the enthusiasm of success. However, even with the unsurpassed methods and practices, failures take place. The basic principle of integrated product development is that exceptional execution, based on a well-articulated game plan and an effective NPD process, gives increase to the probability of success. The chief approach for product innovation is to organize the resources and participants into an integrated force using a reasoned framework that whereby the leadership, direction, organization, evaluation, management, and control are provided. The complexity of today's technologies and products needs a systematic approach. Analogous to Mamet's comments, individual performances are not as important as the faultless involvement and collaboration of the integrated team within the management system.

The book gives a proper explanation as to how the cross-functional team manages the NPD process. The NPD process throw light on the alignment of internal functions of the organization with the external business environment and its customers and stakeholders to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate new-product programs. Planning steps include: setting up a common purpose; setting objectives, goals, and targets; breaking the NPD process into elements; securing the resources and management commitments; organizing the effort; and working out a game plan.

Development steps include: making an analysis of the needs; breeding ideas and concepts; selecting a new-product candidate(s) for development; devising the product(s); selecting suitable means to produce the product(s); and developing a marketing campaign to support the product launch. Implementation steps include: getting management approvals; securing the finance; making sure of the proper execution; and managing the reservations, risks, and rewards.

Evaluation steps include: securing feedback about the use of resources and organizational achievement; gauging performance in terms of targets and goals; determining that the NPD program is going on well; and taking any necessary remedial actions. Product development can be described as a process of interconnected decisions, proceeding from opportunities, ideas, and concepts to commercialization in a systematic way. Through analysis and insights, all participants gain confidence along the path to commercialization.

An effective NPD process offers direction, enables management to align the people and resources of the organization and to invigorate creativity. Strategic alignment offers the means for collaboration between the crucial players. Creativity can be achieved through the individual and team contributions by using out of- the-box thinking. It is the open-ended part that guides to new-product solutions and improvements in the NPD process. The systematic approach makes sure that information has been evaluated and used effectively to reduce ambiguity and risks. As knowledge swells, uncertainty leans to decrease, increasing the probability of success. Similarly risk is not the enemy, but an essential part of the process. The basic premise is to manage risk, not to avoid it. A superior process is one that is clearly mapped out and understood by all the participants. Product innovation is about the future and creating a more-favorable strategic position. It is about leading change, not just responding to it. Product innovation is about achieving distinction, creating sustainable products, and obtaining an enduring competitive advantage in the context of a challenging business environment.