Key Tools for Back End of Innovation – How Philips does it

by Michael Graber

Alekasandro Grabulou, Director of Innovation & Development of Philips, talks about key tools for redefining the role of innovation in a fast-paced era. Philips is a leader is health care, consumer lifestyle, and lighting. And, they fused their front end and back end innovation efforts, with great results and a compelling story.

Blending the front end of innovation with sober back end assessment tools–looking end-to-end at a pre-development stage. Implementing these tools have reduced 80% speed-to-market time. After benchmarking 36 projects at pre-development and market success, here are the key lessons.

Exploration. Refinement. Assessment. These elements are screened early, then they move into next steps.

Incorporate digitally enabled consumer centric iterative testing & simulated activation. Studies that involve deep consumer research can be harnessed into simulated launch experiences, CRM development, shopping experiences, and packaging development. Through this process, a company can map every touch point in the consumer decision journey.

Create reusable technology platforms and modular architecture. Here’s the rub. Apply this advice to consumer good applications, like blenders, not sure software. This modular approach creates “an enormous savings of development costs and accelerate speed-to-market.” This allow miniaturization of such items as fryers for Asian markets, whereas the Western fryers may be bigger to fit in bigger kitchens.

Integrate retailers as part of a core team to drive excellence. Kick off the project with partners, so activation happens sooner. We found out that some retailers want limited editions, as part of a co-development plan of activation.

Embrace the Digital Revolution. Tracking is a booming space in healthcare and consumer health, even with oral care. Make it meaningful to consumer rituals.

image credit: aleksandro-grabulov.com


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Michael Graber is the cofounder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis, Tennessee-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis.

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