Guides to Innovation at Scale: New Products and Services

The Importance of Updating Products and Services:

The need to adapt is inherent to the long-term success of any business. Whether it be through a refreshing of an internal process, the expansion of a relationship with a supplier, or the development of new products and services, these continuous upgrades are a vital part of what allows a company to remain relevant.

In this guide, we’re going to focus on the final part of that dilemma: new products and services. How a company navigates the need to produce better and more refined offerings to its customers can be the deciding factor in whether it exists beyond the next six months, particularly in this ever-changing global economy.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the roadblocks which exist that prevent organizations from adapting effectively as well as what our experience at Wazoku tells us about what a business needs to achieve this goal. Following that, we’ll look at some of the reasons for running Challenges in this area and illustrate what some successful organizations are already doing to achieve this aim.

Product Development Issues:

Just as the reasons behind running these Challenges are multi-faceted, so too are the problems that prevent companies from maximizing their product or service development potential. This can make addressing the problem even more complex than it ought to be.

After working with businesses for over two decades, Wazoku believes that most hurdles in this area can be split into these three categories:

  • Development Timeline is too long – this proves a huge obstacle as when customer expectations shift quickly, so too does the demand for getting new products and services to market.
  • Inward focus means missed opportunities – companies tend towards internal changes rather than actively searching for new opportunities – whether this is in their industry or in the wider global marketplace.
  • Failure to learn from past mistakes – businesses often produce findings on past mistakes that they have made regarding product or service development, but failure to put necessary changes in place means that these mistakes will be made again.

The Ambidextrous Organization and Collective Intelligence:

The above sticking points which provide barriers to an efficient product development process are commonplace. This suggests that traditional business structures may be a contributing factor to the problem.

Therefore, moving towards becoming what’s known as an “Ambidextrous Organization” can help a business turn its fortunes around. By being able to adapt how much they exploit their current offerings with how much they explore new opportunities, a business can effectively balance its development efforts.

A key steppingstone on the way to achieving this is adapting how a business interacts with its crowds. For far too long, companies have been happy to simply seek input from internal resources, fearing that actively exploring solutions from external figures could leave the organization vulnerable to their competition.

However, in building relationships with external crowds – whether these are industry experts or a hive mind of many specializations, like the open innovation crowd on Wazoku – organizations have found themselves better placed to move towards becoming a truly ambidextrous operation.

Reasons for running Product and Services Challenges:

A great way of achieving this ambidexterity is to run Challenges specifically centered around new products and services. Some of the other reasons that companies have for running Challenges with this focus include:

  • New ways of competing: organizations are constantly having to rethink how they compete. For example, the democratization of the travel industry, through new arrivals like Airbnb and Uber, has forced traditional hotel chains and transport businesses to rethink how to engages with customers.
  • Building a wider value creation space: in response to competition, businesses are having to think about more creative ways to develop new ideas for products and services.
  • Experimentation: to produce new forms of value, organizations are having to experiment more, establishing a more continuous process to assess their market fit. This is particularly difficult for risk-averse organizations to achieve.

Wazoku has been running Product and Service Challenges time and again over the last twenty years as part of our offering. We’ve found that, once a business focuses its efforts on talking to the right people and tailoring its Challenges to the innovations it wishes to make, there can be no limit to what it achieves.

What Are Companies Already Doing?

A lot of this all sounds good in theory, but these Challenges can be daunting if a company is new to this type of innovation. Luckily, there are examples of ways in which businesses are already succeeding in this area. These include:

  • Opportunity Scouting: this sits right at the front end of how a company enters this area. It revolves around how a business looks externally for new opportunities to explore.
  • Open Competition: businesses are no longer just going to their organization in the hope of coming up with new ideas. Through Open Competition, companies explore who in their network already has a proposal that the business can then explore.
  • Internal Incubators: Running Challenges that focus on internal ‘incubators’ means shoring up your internal scope for innovation and better equipping your internal crowd for current and future innovation Challenges. This links nicely to the concept of Intrapreneurship which has been discussed in a previous guide
  • Open Ideation: this refers to a slightly later stage in the Challenge process whereby an organization has received a proposal for an idea that could work in produce a new product or service. However, the implementation or development of that proposal could be something that the company cannot support internally. Asking an open network of Solvers is a great way of overcoming this potential obstacle.

These are just some of the ways in which businesses that we work with at Wazoku have been putting New Product and Services Challenges into practice. Through developing proposals in this manner, organizations can achieve greater success.

Conclusion:

In this guide, we’ve looked at why developing new products and services for an organization is more crucial than ever before, as well as some of the hurdles that can make it more difficult. Drawing upon our experience in running Challenges along these lines, we’ve also discussed what a company should strive for in terms of its innovation process in this area and illustrated how some businesses are already doing this successfully.

A product or service is the thing around which the health of a company revolves. Getting the development of these products and services correct is one of modern business’s most fundamental areas of discussion. As such, it requires more resources and more focus than most organizations currently allow for.

By changing how a company approaches the development of new products and services for its customers, it can drastically improve its ability to compete with its rivals and establish a competitive advantage. This overhaul also shores up the business against future potential hurdles, as well as providing a great launchpad to expand their innovation efforts into something that is both sustainable and scalable.

About Wazoku:

Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which are underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator.