This article contains:
- Why most businesses don’t innovate their products continuously
- How to Innovate Your Product Continuously:
- Key Takeaways
We live in a constantly growing world and with all the emerging technologies, innovation is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity for business survival and growth. Studies have repeatedly shown that companies that constantly keep their ears to the ground and keep up with the market needs tend to succeed in the long run.
An increasing number of companies are beginning to recognize the advantages of innovation, with 79% ranking it among their top three priorities and 66% planning to increase spending on innovation.
So what does it say, in order for the companies to stay and survive the competition they must build innovation into their organizational DNA. This allows them to deliver customers new value and consistently fend off disruptors.
In this article we will explore how to continuously do the product innovation and keep you attuned to the market vicissitudes and then we will also provide a step-by-step guide to help you succeed by leveraging tools.
Why Most Businesses Don’t Innovate Their Products Continuously
There are several key reasons why companies struggle with ongoing innovation:
When sales are strong, companies become risk-averse and satisfied with minor tweaks to existing products. But this leaves the door open for competitors and new entrants to disrupt the market.
Lack of Dedicated Resources
Innovation can’t happen in a silo or be treated as a side project. Companies must invest dedicated resources – both human and financial – in innovation efforts.
Siloed departments with misaligned goals often work against each other. To enable continuous innovation, cross-functional collaboration is critical.
No Process in Place
Innovation is sporadic without a defined process to systematically generate, refine, test, and launch new ideas. An innovation process provides structure and discipline.
Not Gathering Insights from Customers
Leadership Not Prioritizing Innovation
Innovation efforts can grow and scale with leadership, prioritizing innovation and directing resources towards it.
How to Innovate Your Product Continuously
To build a culture and process for ongoing innovation, focus on these critical steps:
Step 1: Get Leadership Buy-In
- Make the business case for continuous innovation and get leadership on board. Share case studies of companies that fell behind due to lack of innovation.
- Identify innovation metrics and KPIs to track – new product revenue %, speed to market, customer satisfaction with new features, etc.
- Allocate a portion of the annual budget towards innovation efforts, which would help protect the resources. You always consider establishing an innovation team with representation from critical functions like R&D, engineering, marketing, and customer success. This cross-functional team can drive the innovation process.
Let’s look at a few ways Chisel can help in getting leadership buy-in:
Chisel offers true transparency into project plans and the priorities that matter most to leadership. As visual roadmaps are built out in the tool, leadership clearly sees what work teams have underway. They can see the connections between projects and how various initiatives support achieving strategic goals. This level of visibility helps leadership comprehend the strategic rationale driving specific work. Seeing everything laid out gives leadership confidence that teams channel their efforts in the appropriate direction.
The software also surfaces quantitative measures such as customer feedback, marketing qualified leads, product usage analytics, and team pace. Leadership can leverage these concrete metrics to assess the business influence of different projects. Seeing results in the form of accurate data shows leadership how initiatives are advancing key business objectives. This evidence-based view makes winning support for additional resources or prioritization adjustments a smoother process.
The tool facilitates discussion between leadership and the teams. It surfaces all the roadmap talks, questions, and decisions in one central place. This kind of sharing helps address any worries leadership might have much sooner. And it keeps everyone on the same page as the roadmaps adapt. Ultimately, it leads to less backtracking needed. It also makes it easier for leadership to get behind initiatives that genuinely back up the business strategies and goals since measurable data firmly back the results. The transparency and conversation it provides help projects gain approval and alignment.
Step 2: Listen to Your Customers
So, below are a few points you should do for the starters
- Identify your most engaged or vocal customers and regularly interview them to understand their needs, wants, and pain points.
- Send out surveys and run focus groups to gather feature requests and ideas from a broader customer segment.
- Analyze support tickets, chat logs, app store reviews, and social media mentions to capture customer feedback and complaints.
- Use any software feature requests to let your customers submit, vote, and discuss feature ideas on your website or app. This allows you to democratize innovation.
- Distill insights from this customer feedback to create an innovation backlog – a list of ideas to pursue based on customer value and feasibility.
Here are some ways Chisel can help in Listening to Your Customers:
Chisel makes it easy for customers to leave feedback directly in the roadmapping tool. Teams can set up surveys, feedback forms, and live help widgets on their roadmap pages. This lowers customers’ barriers to sharing thoughts, problems, and improvement ideas.
Teams stay constantly connected to customers’ wants through metrics like survey responses over time, support ticket trends, and feedback patterns. The tool automatically aggregates all that input and surfaces the most in-demand new features, top issues, and common themes mentioned. This helps ensure teams focus on the stuff that matters most to customers.
It’s also helpful that customers feel heard. The software links survey answers right to the related roadmap items or projects. Customers know their voices influence the product roadmap. This transparency and two-way communication builds trust in the relationship.
Step 3: Generate New Ideas Internally
You guessed it right; now it is time to generate and appreciate new ideas,
- Regular brainstorming sessions and design sprints are great for hatching new concepts. Techniques like brainstorming and design thinking can spark ideas.
- It’s also good to look at emerging areas and technologies to fuel novelty. Or analyze competitors to see gaps that could be filled or ways to leapfrog others.
- Letting employees submit ideas through an internal portal is smart. And contests can incentivize contributions from all teams.
- From there, add the most promising employee-sourced ideas to the innovation backlog list for consideration.
Here are some ways Chisel can help generate new ideas internally:
Chisel facilitates idea generation and sharing across teams. With all groups collaborating in one centralized platform, team members can stay aware of each other’s work without extra coordination. This open environment sparks new connections and insights and avoids duplicated efforts.
The platform gives teams tools to capture big or small ideas with detailed comments, file attachments, and feedback features. Ideas can be discussed and developed over time as team members weigh in. Patterns emerge that reveal promising areas for innovation.
Teams use roadmap pages in it to solicit suggestions linked to specific product themes or strategic goals. This alignment helps generate new offerings or improvements that create real business impact. As discussions mature, Chisel supports evaluation and prioritization so the most viable concepts rise.
Leadership also benefits from It’s real-time idea tracking. They get visibility into the innovative fruits of collaboration happening across departments. The platform facilitates turning employee ideas and passions into innovations that drive the business forward.
Step 4: Prioritize and Select Ideas to Pursue
- Put each idea through a filtering process before moving to prototyping and development. Score them on customer value, uniqueness, feasibility, cost, and time to market.
- Avoid falling into the trap of building out every idea. Ruthlessly cull ideas that don’t exceed your thresholds.
- Move forward with innovative yet feasible ideas within a reasonable time and budget. Take on a manageable amount of risk.
- Re-evaluate the priority order of your backlog frequently based on new market factors. Adjust course if needed.
Here are some ways Chisel can help prioritize and select ideas to pursue:
Chisel supports a structured yet flexible process for teams to assess and rank potential ideas. Ideas generated internally or from customers can be documented in it with details on implementation costs, skills required, alignment with strategy, and predicted business impact.
Teams use built-in prioritization tools like voting, comments, and weighted scoring to analyze ideas from different perspectives. They evaluate strategic fit, feasibility, competitive advantage, customer demand, and risk level. Insights are captured in robust discussion threads.
Leadership can also weigh in on prioritization from their the software dashboard. Their guidance further refines the criteria to select ideas with the highest ROI and execution confidence.
With all assessment data and team consensus tracked centrally in Chisel, the highest-priority concepts rise naturally to the top. Teams then populate product roadmaps with the chosen ideas to begin scoping, planning, and developing in earnest. If not entirely shaped yet, other promising ideas get deferred to future planning cycles.
This collaborative selection process maximizes viable new work within resource capacity. It ensures teams focus development on the innovations that create the most value.
Step 5: Rapidly Prototype and Test
- Use low-fidelity prototypes and wireframes to quickly validate ideas before investing in total development.
- Get customer feedback on these prototypes through one-on-one testing or releasing it as a minimum viable product (MVP) to a smaller market segment.
- If customers show excitement and engagement with the MVP, proceed to build it out thoroughly. If not, return to the imagination.
- Utilize agile development with continuous delivery to push out new features, test them, get feedback, and iterate quickly.
Here are some ways Chisel can rapidly prototype and test:
Chisel supports rapid prototyping through tight integration with code storage and testing tools. As teams ideate in the tool, they can link directly to initial proof-of-concept code in branches of their version control system.
Centralizing prototypes and tests in it provides complete transparency. Other teams can easily view experimental work, flag issues, and suggest enhancements. Customer feedback mechanisms allow targeting select users for early pilots and gathering initial impressions.
Agile workflows in this software help teams rapidly iterate based on learnings. They can update roadmap specs through structured discussions and move prototypes between stages like “In Development” and “User Testing” at a workflow stage granularity.
This visibility and process keep Quality Assurance synchronized. QA is cued to the latest prototype versions and knows when to run automated/manual tests. Bugs are also tracked in Chisel to ensure fixes are prioritized.
With development, feedback collection, project tracking, and testing all integrated into Chisel, teams can quickly validate ideas, refine concepts, and progress the most promising prototypes toward finished features.
Step 6: Scale Successful Innovations
- Once a new product or feature has succeeded, scale it up with complete development resources.
- Roll out to your customer base through marketing campaigns and sales teams.
- Closely monitor performance metrics – adoption rate, usage, retention, etc – to ensure it delivers value after broader release.
- Continue iterating and improving the feature based on in-market learnings and customer feedback.
Here are some ways Chisel can help scale successful innovations:
After prototypes prove successful, Chisel supports planning for larger-scale implementations. Roadmaps provide a framework to lay out expanded feature specifications, technical dependencies, and deliverable milestones for rolling out innovations over time.
Teams leverage asset management to assemble materials like design mockups, educational resources, and branding for new offerings. Integration with other systems automates handoffs for tasks like marketing setup and customer onboarding.
Release planning functionality optimizes for scalability. Teams can establish rollouts in stages by user type, region, or other attributes while gathering valuable insights at each step. Staged rollouts help minimize risk from broader launch issues.
As implementations progress, Tool aggregates client/usage data to demonstrate value and identify optimization opportunities. Management dashboards reveal adoption metrics, return on investment, and other indicators to assess scaling pace and resource requirements over the long run.
This end-to-end support from prototype to worldwide release allows for capturing maximum value from successful innovations through prudent, data-driven scaling.
Give yourself some credit for reading so far as you have already finished the most difficult step, now all you need is to apply the learnings to the field,
Continuous innovation is critical for companies to retain their competitive edge in this dynamic environment. However, most businesses fail to achieve ongoing innovation due to a lack of commitment, inadequate processes, and insufficient customer insights.
You can make innovation a repeatable business process by getting leadership commitment, listening to customers, ideating systematically, prototyping quickly, and scaling successes. This will enable your company to constantly deliver new value to customers and stay ahead of disruption.
Start gathering customer feedback using an appropriate software feature to kickstart your innovation efforts. This will help you identify top customer needs and high-value opportunities to pursue through your innovation process.