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Topics: Project management, Management, New product development Pages: 46 (15471 words) Published: June 22, 2013
Product Innovation Best Practices Series

From Experience: The Invisible Success Factors In Product Innovation Reference Paper # 19 By: Dr. Robert G. Cooper

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This article was published in Journal of Product Innovation Management, 16, 2, April 1999, 115-133 For information call +1-905-304-8797

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© Product Development Institute Inc. 1999-2007

From Experience: The Invisible Success Factors in Product Innovation By: Dr. Robert G. Cooper

Dr. Cooper lowers the microscope on the state of product innovation and examines the common reasons for poor results. The critical success factors are noticeably absent from the typical new product project. The article outlines how companies can recognize one of the seven common innovation problems that Dr. Cooper refers to as the new product development “Blockers” to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Keywords: Product innovation process, critical success factors, blockers, portfolio approaches, and capacity analysis

These pages contain copyright information of Product Development Institute and member company Stage-Gate Inc., including logos, tag lines, trademarks and the content of this article. Reproducing in whole or any part of this document is strictly forbidden without written permission from Product Development Inc. or Stage-Gate Inc.

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© Product Development Institute Inc. 1999-2007

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From Experience: The Invisible Success Factors in Product Innovation By: Dr. Robert G. Cooper

From Experience: The Invisible Success Factors in Product Innovation Those That Cannot Remember the Past … ... are condemned to repeat it1. Twenty five years of research into why new products succeed, why they fail and what distinguishes winning businesses, and are we any further ahead? Some pundits say no! Today’s new product project teams and leaders seem to fall into the same traps that their predecessors did back in the 1970s; moreover, there is little evidence that success rates or R&D productivity have increased very much. So what’s the problem? Surely, after myriad studies into new product performance, almost every product developer should be able to list off the 10 or 15 critical success factors that make the difference between winning and losing. This journal, and others, have published numerous such articles over the years ... so many that anyone introduced to new product management since 1980 should be as familiar with the critical success factors as a school child is with their ABCs.

Has management be blind to what ails innovation, and what makes winners? Or maybe we researchers are guilty of missing the boat here – of focusing on the wrong problems, or of communicating poorly, or of not making the success factors more visible. This article lowers the microscope on the state of product innovation ... on the fact that product innovation does not happen as well as it should, and that the critical success factors are indeed noticeably absent from the typical new product project. The article outlines the reasons why so many companies and senior managements have failed to heed the messages, and continue to repeat the same mistakes. And solutions are proposed – no, not another process, and not another market research methodology – but approaches designed to tackle the difficult question of management’s failure to listen, and businesses’ failure to embrace the critical success factors.

The ABCs: The Critical Success Factors What are these critical success factors that are so noticeably absent in most businesses’ new product projects? Research has uncovered two types or classes of success factors. The first deals with doing the right projects; the second But we still make the same mistakes. The suc- with doing projects right [13]. cess factors are invisible ... not found in typical business practices. Recent studies reveal that the Type 1. Doing the right projects is captured by...

References: Innovation Management, vol. 9, no. 3, Sept. 1992, pp. 188-199.
© Product Development Institute Inc. 2003-2007
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