10 Things That Leaders Should Be Scared To Do That Will Risk Pushing Their NPD Team Over The Edge

Learning Centre > 10 Things That Leaders Should Be Scared To Do That Will Risk Pushing Their NPD Team Over The Edge

As a leader, it's important to be aware of the risks that come with product development. If you're not careful, you may lose your team's talent and innovation.

As a leader, it's important to be aware of the risks that come with product development. If you're not careful, you may lose your team's talent and innovation.As a leader, it's important to be aware of the risks that come with product development. If you're not careful, you may lose your team's talent and innovation.

Developing a new product is a complex and time-consuming process, requiring the efforts of a large team of experts. Throughout the development process, there are many opportunities for things to go wrong, which can lead to frustration and eventually cause team members to quit taking their talent to competitors or starting their own gig.

As a result, it's crucial for leaders to be aware of the signs that their team is struggling and take action to prevent further damage.

One of the most important things for leaders to keep in mind during product development is that their team can only handle so much before they start to quit. This may seem like an obvious point, but it's one that's often overlooked in the heat of the moment. Leaders need to be aware of the things that can push their team over the edge, whether it's unrealistic deadlines, unrealistic expectations, or a lack of resources. If any of these things start to become a problem, it's important to address them immediately. Otherwise, frustration will build and eventually people will start to quit. By being aware of the signs of trouble, leaders can help keep their team on track and avoid costly turnover.

Here are ten things that leaders should be scared to do that will risk pushing their NPD team over the edge:


1. Telling innovators to come up with some cool stuff without a clear strategy

Leaders should be careful about telling innovators to come up with cool stuff without a clear strategy in mind. While it may seem like a good idea to let the creativity flow, without a specific goal in mind, the team may produce ideas that are not aligned with the company's strategic goals. This can lead to wasted time and resources, as well as frustration among the team members.

Instead, leaders should work with their NPD team to develop a clear strategy for new product development, and then give the team specific goals to strive for. By doing this, leaders can ensure that the team is focused and productive and that new products are developed that meet the needs of the business.

Key Takeaways:

  • Leaders should be aware of the signs that their team is struggling and take action to prevent further damage.
  • One of the most important things for leaders to keep in mind during product development is that their team can only handle so much before they start to quit.
  • Telling innovators to come up with some cool stuff without a clear strategy is a recipe for disaster.
  • Leaders should work with their NPD team to develop a clear strategy for new product development, and then give the team specific goals to strive for. By doing this, leaders can ensure that the team is focused and productive and that new products are developed that meet the needs of the business.


2. The Business Case

The uncertainty of innovation is well-known, but it's a rite of passage that business cases must be completed in order to get funding. This requirement stands in contrast to the very nature of innovation itself. By definition, innovation is new and untested - so how can accurate five-year projections be made? It's an impossible task, and one that innovators know all too well. But without a business case, there is no chance of getting funding.

So the dance continues: innovators come up with new ideas and then try to shoehorn them into a business case format, knowing full well that the projections are nothing more than fiction. It's a frustrating process, but one that must be followed if there's any hope of getting funding for new product development.

There are a few alternative steps that leaders can take in order to make the product development process easier for their team.

Leaders can work with their team to develop a clear strategy for new product development, and then give the team specific goals to strive for. By doing this, leaders can ensure that the team is focused and productive and that new products are developed that meet the needs of the business.

Another alternative step is for leaders to provide their team with resources that can help them develop a strong business case. This could include templates, examples, and training on how to create an effective business case.

Key Takeaways:

  • Leaders should be aware of the things that can push their team over the edge, whether it's unrealistic deadlines, unrealistic expectations, or a lack of resources.


3. Arbitrary Decision Making

In today's business world, it is all too common for decisions to be made based on whim rather than logic. This often leads to sub-optimal results, as projects that are not well-thought-out or aligned with the company's strategy are given the green light while more sensible proposals are left to languish.

This situation is further complicated by the fact that, in many organizations, those with the power to make decisions are often not the same people who are tasked with developing and pitching ideas.

As a result, innovators can find themselves in the frustrating position of having to sell their ideas to executives who may have no interest in or understanding of them. In such an environment, it is often impossible to predict which ideas will be funded and which will be ignored.

This can lead to a feeling of powerlessness among the NPD team, as their hard work and dedication may not be recognized or rewarded. Leaders should be careful to avoid making arbitrary decisions that are not based on logic or strategy. Otherwise, they risk demotivating and alienating their team.

If leaders find themselves in a position where they are making decisions based on whim rather than logic, there are a few things they can do to improve the situation. First, they should make an effort to learn about the products and services that their company offers. This will give them a better understanding of the marketplace and allow them to make more informed decisions.

Second, leaders should consult with the NPD team before making decisions about new product development. By doing this, they can get a better understanding of the team's goals and objectives and make sure that their decisions are aligned with the company's strategy. Finally, leaders should avoid making decisions in a vacuum; instead, they should consult with other stakeholders in the organization to get a variety of perspectives.

By following these steps, leaders can make sure that their decisions are well-informed and aligned with the company's strategy, which will help to avoid frustrating and alienating their team.

Key Takeaways:

  • Leaders should be careful to avoid making arbitrary decisions that are not based on logic or strategy. Otherwise, they risk demotivating and alienating their team.
  • Leaders should consult with the NPD team before making decisions about new product development. By doing this, they can get a better understanding of the team's goals and objectives and make sure that their decisions are aligned with the company's strategy.
  • Leaders should avoid making decisions in a vacuum; instead, they should consult with other stakeholders in the organization to get a variety of perspectives.


4. Sales Own Customers — So Don’t Talk To Them

When it comes to innovation, customer feedback is essential. After all, how can you create customer value if you don't know what customers want? That's why it's so important for innovation teams to have direct access to customers. By talking to customers directly, teams are able to get timely feedback that can be used to inform the product development process.

However, some companies choose to limit contact between innovation teams and customers. In these cases, the sales department is typically responsible for all customer interactions. This can create a barrier to effective innovation, as teams must go through the sales department in order to get approval to speak with customers. This not only slows down the process but also limits the number of iterations that can be tested. As a result,  product development can suffer.

Leaders should work with their sales team to ensure that innovation teams have direct access to customers. This will allow for timely feedback and more iterations of product development.

Leaders should establish a mechanism for innovation teams to directly submit their ideas to executives. This will enable executives to have a deeper grasp on which concepts merit further consideration.

Leaders should make sure that customer feedback is taken into account when making decisions about product development. This will ensure that the products being developed are aligned with customer needs and wants.

Key Takeaways:

  • Customer feedback is essential for innovation teams.
  • Leaders should ensure that innovation teams have direct access to customers.
  • Ideas should be submitted directly to executives for consideration.


5. Your Minimum Viable Product Will Hurt The Brand

Leaders often worry that launching a minimum viable product will damage their brand. And it's true, there are some risks involved. But if you take the time to mitigate those risks, you can still learn valuable information from your MVP experiments. Work with innovation managers to set basic rules for when and how you can use your company's brand when testing solutions. That way, you can still get the data you need without harming your reputation. In the end, it's up to you to decide whether the risk is worth the reward. But if you're careful, an MVP doesn't have to be a brand-killer.

Work with your innovation team to create guidelines for using your company's brand when testing product solutions. This will help to mitigate the risks involved in launching MVPs.

Make sure that you are taking the time to properly test new product ideas before implementing them. This will help to ensure that any damage to your brand is minimal.

Be prepared to quickly adapt your product development process if your MVP experiments do not go as planned. This will help to limit the amount of brand damage that can occur.

By taking these steps, you can launch MVPs without putting your brand at risk.

Key Takeaways:

  • Minimum viable product experiments can be beneficial, but leaders should take steps to mitigate the risks involved.
  • Working with your innovation team and setting guidelines for using your company's brand can help to reduce the risk of damage to your brand.
  • If you are prepared to quickly adapt your product development process, you can limit the amount of brand damage that can occur.


6. Our Tech Team Will Only Get To That In Six Months

In order to be innovative, companies need to be able to build, test, and iterate solutions quickly. Unfortunately, in some companies, the technology department is deliberately designed to be slow-moving, which prevents innovation from happening. The tech team is the only group that is allowed to build products, and they have a backlog of six months worth of work. This means that anybody else who has an idea for a product has to submit their specifications and wait for the tech team to get around to it. This process is frustrating for employees and stifles innovation.

Leaders should work to create a culture of innovation in which anyone can bring an idea forward. This can be done by creating cross-functional teams that are empowered to make decisions, and by establishing clear channels of communication. Leaders should also be sure to support their team members and recognize and reward their contributions. Finally, leaders should avoid micromanaging and instead focus on creating an environment in which team members feel comfortable taking risks. Only then will true innovation be possible.

Key Takeaways:

  • Companies need to be able to build, test, and iterate solutions quickly in order to be innovative. Slothfulness is the enemy of innovation.
  • Dedicated departments can stifle innovation by creating a barrier to effective communication and collaboration.
  • Leaders should focus on creating a culture of innovation in which anyone can bring an idea forward. This can be done by establishing clear channels of communication, supporting team members, and avoiding micromanaging.


7. On Time, On Budget

Being an innovator is not for the faint of heart. Not only do you have to come up with a new idea or business model, but you also have to convince others to invest in your vision. Even if you are successful in winning over some early adopters, you will then have to face the quarterly or annual review meeting from hell. In this meeting, all that anyone cares about is whether you are on time and on budget. It doesn't matter if your original plan was never realistic or if you have learned some new things that have caused you to change your approach. All that matters is whether you are delivering on the plan.

This can be a frustrating process for innovators who are trying to navigate a rapidly changing landscape. However, it is important to remember that these review meetings are a necessary part of the process. They help to ensure that companies are making progress and not wasting resources.

Leaders should be flexible in their thinking and be prepared to change their plans if necessary. They should also understand that things may take longer than originally anticipated.

If a product is taking longer than expected to develop, leaders should review the product development process to see if there are any areas that can be improved. They should also consider whether the original plan was realistic.

As new information arises, leaders should be able to adapt their plans. This may mean changing the product development process or the product itself. Leaders should also be prepared to communicate these changes to stakeholders. If a product is not meeting customer needs, leaders should consider whether the product needs to be changed or if the target market needs to be adjusted.

Innovation requires experimentation. Leaders should be willing to try new things and take risks. They should also be prepared to fail. Not every experiment will be successful, but leaders can learn from their failures. By taking risks, leaders can find new ways to succeed.

The goal of product development should be to create a product that meets customer needs. Leaders should focus on the long-term goal of creating a successful product, not the short-term goal of completing the product on time and on budget.

If a product is taking longer than expected to develop, leaders should not sacrifice quality in order to meet the deadline. They should also not cut corners in order to save money.

Key Takeaways:

  • Being an innovator is not for the faint of heart. You have to be willing to take risks and experiment.
  • Not every experiment will be successful, but you can learn from your failures.
  • It is important to focus on the long-term goal of creating a successful product, not the short-term goal of completing the product on time and on budget.
  • If a product is taking longer than expected to develop, leaders should not sacrifice quality in order to meet the deadline. They should also not cut corners in order to save money.


8. Unexpected Budget Cuts

Ever-changing budgets are not good for innovation. When leadership decides to cut the budget for innovation projects, it creates uncertainty and can hamper a startup's progress. The teams always know how much financial runway they have left, and an ever-changing budget can make it difficult to plan for the future. Imagine an investor calling a startup founder to ask for some money back because their fund is not going to meet projections! This would be a major setback for the startup, and could potentially dissuade other investors from investing in the company. A stable budget is essential for a startup to be able to plan and execute its innovation projects.

So what can you do if your company is facing budget cuts?

Try to get a better understanding of the reasons for the budget cuts. Sometimes, there are good reasons for them (e.g., the company is losing money). Other times, the budget cuts may be arbitrary or based on politics instead of business goals.

Once you understand the reasons for the budget cuts, try to find other sources of funding. This may mean going to venture capitalists or angel investors. It may also mean looking for government grants or other forms of non-dilutive capital.

If you can't find other sources of funding, then you'll need to make some tough choices about which projects to cut. Try to prioritize the projects that have the most potential for impact. Also, try to keep the projects that are furthest along in development, as they may be more likely to generate revenue in the short term.

By following these steps, you can minimize the damage caused by budget cuts and keep your organisation's innovation efforts on track.

Key Takeaways:

  • Uncertainty surrounding budget cuts can hamper a startup's progress and make it difficult to plan for the future
  • Try to get a better understanding of the reasons for budget cuts, look for other sources of funding, and prioritize projects with the most potential if faced with budget cuts.


9. You Failed, You Are Fired

Winston Churchill famously said, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." This quote captures the essence of why failure must be celebrated within a company if innovation is to flourish. When people see others losing their jobs because of failed projects, it creates an uninspiring environment. Furthermore, people working on innovation projects will become unwilling to admit failure. This will make the projects run for longer than they should, which creates an unnecessary expense. Winston Churchill understood that failure is a necessary part of success. By celebrating failure, companies can create an environment where innovation can thrive.

One way to overcome the fear of failure is to make sure that people are not punished for their failures. When people are afraid to fail, they will be less likely to take risks, which is essential for innovation. In order to encourage risk-taking, leadership should consider implementing the following measures:

  • Implement a system where people are not punished for their failures.
  • Encourage people to take risks by offering rewards for successful projects.
  • Make sure that people have the resources they need to succeed.
  • Create an environment where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn.

By taking these steps, companies can create an environment where innovation can flourish.

Key Takeaways:

  • Failure is a necessary part of success and should be celebrated within a company in order to encourage innovation.
  • Take measures to ensure that people are not punished for their failures and that they have the resources they need to succeed.
  • Create an environment where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn. This will encourage people to take risks and innovate.


10. Hope You Enjoyed The Workshop, Now Get Back To Work

To support innovation, a lot of companies are running design thinking or lean innovation workshops. However, even as their employees learn these great skills, the companies are not set up to benefit from them. Most employees will find that they cannot apply their newly acquired skills within the company they work for. What is the point of learning customer development, if you are not allowed to talk to customers?

An alternative approach for companies would be to allow employees to apply the skills they learned in the workshops. This can be done by setting up an innovation lab where employees can work on new projects. The lab can provide a safe environment for employees to experiment and learn. The lab can also help to connect employees with customers and suppliers so that they can continue to learn and develop new skills. By setting up an innovation lab, companies can encourage their employees to continue to innovate and grow.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most companies are not set up to benefit from the design thinking or lean innovation workshops they run.
  • An alternative approach would be to allow employees to apply the skills they learned in the workshops by setting up an innovation lab.
  • The lab can provide a safe environment for employees to experiment and learn, and help connect employees with customers and suppliers so that they can continue to learn and develop new skills. By setting up an innovation lab, companies can encourage their employees to continue to innovate and grow.

Key Takeways

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