Product Innovation - Apple, Google, GE


Product Innovation - Apple, Google, GE

Highlights by David Willden

Quick fixes do not work. It is not enough to compete on cost, brand and marketing. Innovation and quality are quickly becoming the foundations of success. Some companies have consistently developed profitable new products that enable businesses to continue to grow despite hard times.

The Global Innovation 1000

Booz & Company conducted an annual survey with the world’s top research and development spenders. The objective was to find the keys to success.

In an article titled “The Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning” authors Barry Jaruzelski and Kevin Dehoff attempt to uncover the secrets. So, what are they?

In a nutshell, top innovators don’t plan at being great at everything. However, they are great at the right things,

Barry and Kevin report that interestingly, being a top R&D spender does not correlate with the best profits. The more successful product innovators (e.g., Apple, Google, 3M, GE) are disciplined on developing narrow and discrete capabilities (e.g., skills, process and tools) needed to achieve the strategies.

In 2007, When Booz & Company conducted their annual  product innovation survey, they found that the companies they focused on (top R&D spenders) followed at least one of the following innovation strategies:

  • Need Seekers: Work closely with customers to understand their needs and create products accordingly.
  • Market Watchers: Observe customers and competitors with a focus on incremental change and following market trends
  • Technology Drivers: Leverage technology capabilities and R&D investments to drive innovation. Focus on “unarticulated” customer needs.

In 2009, Booz & Company interviewed innovation executives again throughout the world, and asked them to vote for what they believed were the most innovative companies. Apple, Google, 3M, GE, Toyota, Microsoft, P&G, IBM, Samsung and Intel made the list. As part of the survey, Booz focused their questions on determining what specific capabilities were most critical. The need seekers, market watchers, and technology drivers (my words) all weighed heavily the following top priorities:

  • An understanding of emerging technologies
  • Broad consumer and customer insights
  • Engagement with customers to prove and refine the product
  • Product platform management
  • Work with pilot users to carefully roll out products

To read the article -

The Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning


Product Innovation