By 2025 there will be more than 4.2 billion people in the global consuming class, almost double from 2010. But an expanding market does not guarantee expanding product sales. A microwave oven perfect for North American consumers can be a flop in South Asia. North Americans have small households and use a microwave for convenience. In South Asia a microwave oven will be used by a large household as a primary cooking appliance. The key to success goes beyond design, beyond collaboration, and into innovation. Successful manufacturing companies make innovation part of their core production workflows: innovative product ideas, innovative business models, innovative business processes.
Innovation is not just an accident or a random moment of insight. Innovation can become a part of product workflows, managed as a PLM (product lifecycle management) function. Innovation management turns the selection and translation of ideas and inventions into profitable opportunities. Razorleaf understands that successful companies intentionally foster innovation throughout the organization, and can help establish innovation best practices for your company. We can help you link company culture (beliefs, values, attitudes) and strategy (achieving objectives) to innovation, the process of discovery.
Knowledge Plus Action
Many manufacturers operate with inherited innovation models out of step with today’s economy. The four most common innovation models below go from highest risk to lowest risk and from rigidity to flexibility in responding to market demands:
- The Inventor as Innovator model relies on the one great idea, but can’t direct the downstream process to turn that great idea into product.
- The Product Pioneer model directs its energy into the prototype, but relies only on engineering and can’t harness the knowledge in the rest of the company.
- The First Mover model has a system in place to transform the initial innovation into a product, but doesn’t have the ability to remain competitive in the face of competition.
- The Fast Follower model has flexibility to adopt innovation, adapt to competitive pressures, and develop iterations or new models.
Of these four, the Fast Follower is the one most likely to have made best practices for innovation a part of the company DNA. Innovation Management in PLM turns the best elements of all four models into a recipe for repeatable success.
Realizing Innovation in PLM
Innovation starts in ideation, but in this age of rapid change and smart products, new approaches are required. Manufacturing is the realization stage of innovation; its participation is as important as design. Using product lifecycle management (PLM) for innovation management allows companies to unite ideation, realization, and utilization. No matter which vendor’s products you select, the goal is the same: turning innovative practices into repeatable business processes.
Building for Results
Making innovation management part of your company’s product development culture is an opportunity to re-think the entire process of bringing products to market. Work with Razorleaf to identify what systems and processes you need to:
- Collect, appraise, and annotate ideas;
- Develop design alternatives aligned with budgets and resources;
- Define requirements and produce business cases;
- Monitor for market readiness.
With more than 15 years experience in PLM, Razorleaf can be your trusted partner to keep your company on the competitive edge.