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Many large CPG firms are struggling to innovate fast enough, and this is leading some to experiment with different business models and different ways to get things through their large systems. The cry of ‘be Agile!’ can be heard in many corporate offices, and with this push to be more agile it could be easy to think that stage gate processes should be abolished altogether. However, before your team goes rushing to burn down the halls of the stage gate process, let’s take a step back and discuss why it was set up in the first place – and following that – how you can make it faster, leaner, and more predictive – without entirely abandoning the positive things a stage gate process provides. Why have a stage gate process in the first place? The goal of any stage gate process is to increase the ROI (Return on Investment) from the company’s spend on Innovation and New Product Development. How do you achieve higher ROI? In my role at PepsiCo where I helped define and standardise the research steps within the stage gate process, there was a function called ‘Commercialisation’. Led by Garry Clancy, one of the primary responsibilities of this function was to manage and run the stage gate process – of which research is just one input. Garry had a simple way to explain how we increase innovation ROI: “Do the right projects, and do the projects right” Garry Clancy, Senior Vice President, Global Innovation & Commercialisation, PepsiCo So what does that practically mean, and why is it important? If you are a small company and you only launch one or two innovations a year, then you don’t really need a stage gate process. Setting up an agile team and having regular check-ins with stakeholders will enable you to have the right level of input to avoid risks and optimise your ideas. You can still use the research tools I will describe below to improve your ROI, but you won’t need a stage gate process with the same level of formality and oversight as a larger organisation. However, if your company is launching multiple innovations each year – potentially across different divisions or regions, then it becomes more important to have a standardised system for evaluating innovation and comparing innovations against each other. Decisions need to be made to prioritise resources and ensure that the right ideas are being worked on (those with the highest chance of a strong ROI), and that those ideas are as good as they […]
Since the beginning of market research in the early 1900’s, companies have been trying to understand the needs of their customers, find ways of improving their products, and validate new ideas before spending large amounts of money developing them.
As briefs go, it’s not often you get asked by a leading platform to explore what makes their content, and how people engage with it, unique. Yet, this is the challenge Pinterest and other content platforms face to keep Advertisers engaged and to differentiate themselves in an industry where ‘trends’ are the commodity.