Ideation has long existed separately from the rest of the product lifecycle, managed and used by marketing, product management, and maybe sales. Connected everything (products, manufacturing, supply chain, service) is changing that, as is dynamic demand in highly competitive, local markets around the world. Ideation is a key component of a product innovation platform, and a key reason why manufacturers move to a platform approach – so they can handle changing, unique, customized demand.
Up until the past few years, companies in the CPG, consumer goods, and other fast moving, dynamic industries were the primary organizations that really cared about having an “ideation” tool, or at least a systematic process for capturing the next big thing. The reason was (and is) because they have to, as they have enormous portfolios of products, low margins, stiff competition, and short time to market demand; with CPG companies, for example, consumer demand and preferences change quickly so there needs to be a big pipeline of possibilities.
Today, although asset oriented manufacturers in industries such as chemicals still experience long innovation cycles, automotive and machinery companies with traditionally long innovation and product lifecycles, have increasing portfolios of customized products and shrinking time to market demands. That said, according to our 2015 Product & Service Innovation Survey, in the next 3-4 years manufacturers across industry list innovation as a key area of focus for their organization. And so, they can greatly benefit from bolstering their front end of innovation processes to better capture the next big idea, quickly model and validate, establish requirements, and launch to market.
I think it’s time to redefine “ideation” to encompass a much larger spectrum of capability, including idea capture, analytics, configuration, simulation, costing, and product portfolio management. It’s also time to rethink, as a manufacturer, how ideation is connected, with whom it’s done, and what models are used to source, validate, and support new ideas, or product improvements. My forthcoming Perspective on this topic, and future research, will delve further into these possibilities and opportunities.
Until then, as always I welcome your thoughts at jhojloidc.com.