New product innovation is a core business scenario for CorasWorks Idea Management on SharePoint (Cim). Cim allows you to tap into your workforce (internal or external) for the ideas to fuel your innovation objectives. This is a great value to augment existing processes. But, that is just the start of a successful new product innovation process. In this article we’ll walk you through a couple scenarios that build on one another towards a more comprehensive view of an end-to-end process for new product innovation.
A little setup… New products and services are important and typically represent a major investment. Thus, many organizations have a rather involved review and approval process. There are typically a host of supporting activities in the decision process. In addition, the workstream for new product innovations must continue further through development and go to market activities to result in a positive business outcome. The process differs by industry and by company or even by product line. They tend towards more complex scenarios that have greater integration challenges. Cim addresses this scenario with its flexible design and the ability to engage people in different ways throughout the full process.
We’ll start with the simplest scenario. Typically, organizations have some sort of approval process for new product investments. With the addition of idea management you are adding the ability to tap into your workforce (internal or external) and engage them in your process. The basic workstream is as shown here.
- Ideation – Ideas are captured from a broad audience in a standing product idea community. The community rates, comments, and enhances the ideas with supporting information. Ideas can be stack ranked by the activity of the community.
- Review and Management – Then, there is the back-side management site (the flip side). Here your smaller new product management team does their work. They screen the ideas, select candidates, review and enhance them, put them through their formal proposal and approval process and oversee the portfolio of approved innovations. This work is complemented with supporting reporting and management features.
One of the most common extensions to the basic approach is to increase the flow of ideas and their relevance to an objective. This is typically done by planning and executing proactive campaigns, challenges, and contests directed towards your workforce. They typically are for specific time periods and specific new product objectives.
As shown here, the flow from multiple communities comes into the same management site. An important aspect of the Cim solution is the ease with which your management site (or sites) can be modified to meet differences in your management process and accommodate changes, such as when the flow is greater and different.
Implementing YOUR End-to-End Solution
As mentioned above, your end-to-end process is probably unique and changes from time to time or even by situation. Cim adapts to this reality. It delivers on the elements above and provides the foundation to enhance and extend YOUR process to incorporate the other supporting and downstream activities that transform ideas into innovations. A little definition first:
- Supporting Activities – These are the activities that are required to support the decision process. Leveraging our native process integration, add-on CorasWorks-based apps and/or supporting SharePoint supporting sites can be hooked into the process. Examples are sites/apps for Market Evaluation and Planning, Market Testing Campaigns, Subject Matter Review Teams (Engineering, etc.), Finance Review, supporting collaboration sites, and sites or external services providing necessary data and information to make informed decisions. The objective is better decisions and pre-planning.
- Downstream Activities – Once a decision is made to proceed – what happens? Similarly, you can have integrated downstream activities. You may have Implementation Teams to implement straightforward product changes. Or, you may spin up a new product development site. Or, push the innovation to one or more Program Management Offices. Or, add the new development project to one or more management portfolio dashboards. These may further leverage CorasWorks, such as using our Project Portfolio Management solution. Or, you may have your own native SharePoint sites or third party sites/applications that are integrated (and run on SharePoint or externally).
Below is a schematic that shows the workstream from idea through the downstream activities leading to your business outcome.
Benefit of Role-Based UI’s in a Distributed SharePoint Environment
Trying to meet the needs of a complex business scenario in a single UI has challenges such as fragility, constraints of one size fits all design, and less friendly and relevant user design. Cim on SharePoint provides different role-based UI’s allowing the user to work in one place and do their work – such as working on Market Evaluation. The modules are integrated across the distributed environment so the right information is available to users where they work. Thus, users don’t have to navigate the environment or even know about the other elements And, their UI can be optimized for the work they need to do. With this approach, a SharePoint environment becomes a natural foundation for the more complex scenarios of new product innovation.