Innovation is a journey. Individuals and companies deploy innovations to stay competitive in a global marketplace while satisfying customer needs. We develop new products and services to make daily life easier and more convenient, allowing society as a whole to grow more prosperous.
New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification is the most recognized and elite qualification that demonstrates mastery of innovation systems. NPDP certification covers seven key components and when companies excel in these arenas, they excel at innovation.
Strategy is a business decision of where you are going and why. The business lays out strategy with its mission, vision, and values. If you were taking a vacation, the equivalent of strategy is deciding where you will go on your trip and what you expect to do.
Of course, you must decide how to travel to your vacation destination. You could fly, drive, take a train, or even travel on the water (especially if you are going to take a cruise vacation!). Choosing how you will get to your destination is like portfolio management in innovation.
Portfolio management in new product development (NPD) is a selection process to choose the most value-added innovation projects for the organization to work. Senior management also uses portfolio planning to assign resources to the innovation work, just as you would choose how much money you have available to spend on the travel portion of your vacation.
Processes are the agreed-upon set of conditions and the framework we use to do the work of innovation. Today in NPD, we use a spectrum of processes ranging from the traditional staged-and-gated methods to agile processes, like Scrum.
Processes, in our vacation analogy, include how we will plan and execute our travel. Suppose we selected driving as the best alternative (portfolio management). With a process framework, we would determine how many miles to drive each day, in which cities to reserve overnight hotels, and milestone activities, like stopping at an amusement park or a national forest.
Life Cycle Management
Unfortunately, all vacations must come to an end. We have to plan our return trip home and we have to figure out what to do with the photos and memorabilia collected on the trip. While we are on the vacation, we might need to make adjustments in our plans due to weather (rainy days in the beach are no fun).
Likewise, in NPD, we consider the life cycle of the new product. Most new products go through several phases of introduction to a market, growth, maturity, and decline. You can read more about a product life cycle here.
While strategy is the core of innovation, portfolio management, NPD processes, and life cycle are the key processes that enable a firm to execute the strategy. Supporting all these arenas are teams and leadership, market research, and specific NPD tools. Without the continued improvement of these supporting elements, a business cannot be successful with innovation.
Teams and leadership are the people involved in doing the work of NPD and also include the customer base. This is your family and friends who are planning their vacation, taking the trip, and watching your home while you are away. Successful innovation requires effective management of diverse relationships.
Market research provides information on customer needs, customer satisfaction, and customer expectations. Learnings from market research yield a direct feedback loop to crafting the strategy. For example, if your family likes hiking and camping, your vacation destinations will include national parks. But if your friends love sports you may plan a vacation to watch your favorite football team take on a rival in another city.
Finally, we need a set of tools to build and support our innovations. NPD tools include design thinking, financial performance, and ideation tools. Your choice of NPD tools will vary just as your selection of tools for a vacation will change based upon your process. On a driving trip, you will pack jumper cables and a lug wrench. On a cruise, you’ll pack cheap novels and sunscreen. You match the necessary tools with the risks of the work.
NPDP Certification validates mastery of knowledge and experience in these seven key areas:
- Portfolio Management,
- NPD Processes,
- Life Cycle Management,
- Teams and Leadership,
- NPD Tools and Metrics, and
- Market Research.
Earning your NPDP certification is valuable for job search candidates and for promotion opportunities. NPDP certification demonstrates mastery of innovation knowledge, validates professional experience, and lets you share a common vocabulary with other industry experts.
You can learn more about NPDP certification in a short video here. Register now for our July online NPDP prep class. You will receive a copy of the #1 Study Guide available and access to greater than 400 practice questions. Contact me at area code 281 phone 280-8717 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Our goal is defining innovation leadership for your success.
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