Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Driving Innovation in the Large Organization

By Douglas Hartung
Director, Global Software Research & Strategy
Diebold, Incorporated

“We need to be more innovative” is a rallying cry heard frequently throughout large organizations across industries.  Unfortunately, we often see the capabilities and processes that created past growth can act to hamper new innovation unless recognized and managed effectively.  In this article we will explore two ways large companies often let their existing organizational structure and processes stifle their organic innovation capabilities and explore how to work around these constraints.

Product Development is Different from Product Incubation

At some point in their development, most organizations have missed launch windows, overspent to reengineer products when important features were missing, launched a product unprofitably when pricing expectations were not met, or encountered any number of reasons a product launch was not considered successful.  Frequently, these types of mistakes can be caught early in the process when subject matter experts are engaged. This mentality often leads to the formation of New Product Initiative Committees or other forms of cross-functional teams assembled to ensure that all business, sales, technical, and operational aspects have been considered as a new product moves through the development process.

This activity can be exceptionally valuable as part of the product development process.  But this activity can also be detrimental to the rapid prototyping and testing of a “minimally viable product” as part of the Product Incubation process.  
  • It is important to keep an eye on the most critical questions to be answered as part of the incubation process:
  • Is there a clear problem that is solved here?
  • Is it a problem that is faced and articulated by a large group of customers?
  • How is this problem being solved today?
  • Is my solution to the problem demonstrably better?

The Product Incubation process must be focused on answering the WHO WHAT and WHY of a potential new product incubation project. The HOW and WHEN can be addressed later once the concept has been proven in a less formal and operationally rigorous setting.  This is not to suggest that operational excellence is unimportant. It is. It’s just not important yet.

Project Management vs. Portfolio Management

Product Development in large organizations frequently follows a fairly traditional path.  A business case is developed, business requirements are defined, a business analyst translates these to functional requirements, which drive out technical and operational requirements.  We progress down a path of approving the requirements, moving to development, then testing, and then launching.  Stopping anywhere along this path is seen as failure or wasted effort.  The mindset: We are running a project through to completion or we are failing.

Managing an innovation program is more about Portfolio Management.  (And moving beyond the deploy or fail mindset) A lesson learned early in my career was when I was asked by a participating VP if I thought a particular initiative was going to be a big success.  My response was that of the ten innovation projects we were managing I was fairly certain that 5-6 would fail, 3-4 would be marginally valuable, and 1-2 would be a big success.  I suggested that if I could know which two would be profitable I’d stop work on the rest of them. But rather than grade me based on my guessing skills, let’s judge performance based on whether we quickly identify weaker projects and quickly repurpose resources towards other projects and activities quickly, and determine if the small number of successes generates returns sufficient given the overall cost of the innovation portfolio.  Admittedly, this can feel like a very odd way to view the world in many settings.  It certainly felt odd to the VP who wanted to judge success or failure on a per project basis (and you better hit 100%!)

John F. Kennedy is purported to have said that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.  This is particularly true in corporate new product development settings. But it needs to change:  fail early, fail often, fail cheaply, capture the learnings and move on.

One way to make failure part of the process is by overtly planning for failure.  Ways to make this a part of the process include using one of the following two tools:
  • Require that any new product concept being developed include a short section that includes (a) “if this project fails it is likely to fail for one of these reasons”, and (b) “here is what we are putting in place to ensure that we are watching for these reasons and what we will do if we encounter them”.  
  • Steal a page from the medical and military communities.  You probably don’t want to call it a Morbidity & Mortality Conference to learn why the project died.  But creating a simple Lessons Learned document can be invaluable both for capturing learnings for future use but also as a mechanism for changing culture to look for and learn from these “failures” as an expected part of the innovation process.  

There are numerous examples of large companies that excel at managing a portfolio of product innovation concepts as part of the process of new product development.  And without question the product innovation process is a critical front end to ensuring that products brought into the development process are feasible and attractive to the customer.  But these two activities require a very different approach and cultural orientation to work together effectively.  Focusing on the key foundational success factors (what problem is solved, and why is this solution better?) and managing an innovation portfolio rather than discrete, “over-structured” projects, are just two of these important differences. 

Douglas Hartung joined Diebold, Incorporated in 2014 and is the director of global software research and strategy. In this role, he is responsible for identifying, leading and evangelizing new business and product ventures to expand Diebold’s software portfolio.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Five Strategies for Accelerating Growth with Innovation

By April Bertram
Innovation Management Director
GOJO Industries

When it comes to accelerating growth with innovation, there are many paths you can take. I have outlined five areas that have proven to accelerate this type of growth in organizations. 
Align with strategy. All too many times I have heard companies say they want innovation to come from everyone and everywhere with no boundaries. The downside to this approach is that you literally get ideas from everywhere and ones that may not be fully aligned with your organization’s strategy. You end up wasting resources on a project that you have no intention of commercializing and impact team moral by having to cancel the project down the road. It’s always best to give the organization growth areas with some guard rails, so that they have safe areas to innovate that are fully aligned with strategy. 

Reduce risk early. How many times have you embarked on an innovation project knowing that you have some risks, but figure you will deal with them when you reach that stage in the process? This ultimately leads to re-work because you get too far down the development path to make changes. Organizations then need go all the way back to early stages of development and invest more time and people to mitigate the risk. Even worse, they decide to launch and experience limited success or even failures in the market.  

It is imperative to focus on the most significant risks right away. This includes understanding external forces that can impact your innovation, as well as project and business model related risks.

Project teams should start the project by understanding these risks and identify plans to mitigate them early – not waiting until you are in that particular stage of development. If you think there will be significant challenges with manufacturing, start working on that challenge now. If you are unsure whether you are solving the right problem, investigate that immediately.  

Start with early prototypes to validate your hypotheses. Are you addressing the right problem? Do you have the right target market? Does your value prop resonate with your target and does it solve the problem identified? Is it a large enough opportunity or problem to ensure financial gains? Make sure you are considering all aspects of your go-to-market strategy and focus on the areas that present the most risk first.   

Utilize simple tools and processes. The way we work and innovate is ever-changing. You can’t innovate the same way you have been in years past. It’s time to brush up on new tools and practices. Have you investigated the Business Model Canvas? Can you benefit from Design Thinking or Lean Startup methodologies? Are there other emerging methodologies like Innovation Engineering that you can try? When evaluating new items, make sure you customize them for your business. Build a hypothesis of what might work and then pilot. More often than not, you will be blending together some of these methodologies and tools to get the right one that works for your company. The most important objective is that you are always investigating potential new ways of working and how they might advance your innovation efforts – not becoming stagnant.  

Develop partnerships. With the pace of technological change, it’s hard to keep up by innovating on your own. You will get to market faster and likely with a smaller investment if you partner in the development process. You can engage in partnerships on a per-project basis or at a higher, strategic level. Strategic partnerships can enable innovation in multiple areas – advancing your innovation system as a whole – when you partner with customers, vendors or even competitors. 

Manage as a system. If you truly want to accelerate growth through innovation, you need to look at your organization and understand all the elements that impact innovation. Prioritize the ones that can help you advance the entire system and focus on those first. I have learned that it’s a balance of adding some new tools and practices, but continuing to advance existing processes as well. Introducing too many new elements at once can overwhelm the organization and defeat the objective of accelerating growth. 

I have provided some ideas on where to start accelerating your organization’s growth with innovation, now you need to start testing and learning so you can advance your organization!

As Innovation Management Director at GOJO Industries, April is responsible for building, cultivating and leading the growth of a high performance innovation system. Previously, as Stage-Gate Process Manager at GOJO, she  led the re-design of the NPD Process to incorporate Agile, Lean Start-Up and Design Thinking methodology., Prior to that, she was a Product Manager at The Hygenic Corporation, where she managed the Thera-Brand ® product portfolio new market development and company-wide new product innovation planning process.

Innovation Boosts Texas Algae Technology Developer

By Michael Valenti
Senior Research Consultant
Technical Insights 
Frost & Sullivan

Today’s technology companies are growing by using their innovation skills to develop new technologies based on a common area of expertise that can be licensed by other entities. This provides needed capital for the innovator to continue adding to their technology portfolio by leveraging their core competencies. 

A case in point is Missing Link Technology, LLC, of Cypress, Texas. The Texas company specializes in developing and acquiring emerging processes in neutraceutical and biofuel applications. The common thread in these diverse areas is that they involve the continuous fermentation of algae. Missing Link's entire business model is based on licensing. The Texas company has a sister company that licenses its technologies to third parties.

Nutraueticals, or foods with medicinal value, are a booming business around the world. Some research indicates the global market for these products, which was $141.2 billion in 2011, could achieve $204.8 billion by 2017 with a Combined Annual Growth Rate of 6.3%. 

For example, Missing Link Technology has developed and patented its Alginator algal oil extraction technology. The Texas company designed the Alginator to use rapid non-equilibrium decompression in order to enhance the efficiency, and also lower energy consumed by traditional oil extraction from algae. The inventors achieved this by injecting pressurized gas into the cell, then lowering the pressure to break the algae into smaller particles.

This enables the device to continuously lyse, or cause cell destruction, emulsify, and de-agglomerate algae to produce smaller particle sizes. Then, nutraceutical manufacturers remove desired carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins from algal cells. A key design innovation on the Alginator is the exit nozzle. The company fashioned the exit nozzle to provide the optimal flow rate and shear rate in the minimum time period. 

The strength of biologically sourced fuel, or biofuels, has not been lost on the scientists at Missing Link Technology. The desire for domestically sourced fuel, far away from the turbulent Middle East, and less environmentally impactful fuels then petroleum based compounds, has spurred a global biofuel market of approximately 1.9 million barrels per day in 2011. This was a 16% rise over the 1.67 million daily barrels in 2009. Some research expects that figure to be 2.5 million barrels per day in 2020.

This is why Missing Link Technology also developed a patented two-stage reactor to continuously ferment algae to make biologically derived fuel, or biofuel.  A two-stage process results in reduced water content and an altered algae biomass.

The algal biomass is then converted to fuel by another Missing Link Technology patented process. This consists of a gasifier that transforms the hydrocarbons present in the algal biomass into synthetic gas, or syngas, composed of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and trace impurities. The reactor heats the syngas from 300 degrees Fahrenheit to 1,500 degrees F to produce a liquid and some solids.

Missing Link's process pre-heats the biomass, mixes it with the syngas, and then injects the mixture into a reactor. This vessel divides the process stream into gas, liquid, and solid state particles. The gaseous portion can be burned to produce electricity, like natural gas, or converted into a transportation fuel. The used solids can be recovered for further processing into transportation fuel. 
By focusing on improvements within growing new technology markets - nutriceuticals and biofuels - Missing Link is aiming its expertise at burgeoning opportunities. By licensing its technologies, the company is free to reinvest in the development of new innovations as market needs develop.

In sum, by creating innovative technologies, the company is able to license them to generate revenue. These funds enable the firm to invest in new scientific advances, enhancing the expertise of their personnel.

What’s your secret sauce?

By Brian Moelich
Business Designer, Innovation Enablement, CX

It’s a common question in venture capital, but no one really tells how to find the answer or how to judge that answer.

The phrase so important, whether for an early stage business or a corporation’s new venture, because it is asking “what is it that you uniquely do that will make customers come to you over the competition?” In simplest terms, how are you differentiated?

The challenge though is how do you identify what differentiates you and how do you judge if what you identified truly sets you apart. I’d like to share the Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas, which I like to use to analyze new ventures.

Who is your customer and what is your value proposition?
The first step is to be clear on who your customer is. Having a narrow and focused view on your customer helps you identify what their needs, pains and jobs to be done are. Then choose which of these your value proposition is targeting.

We do this step to identify what value am I providing for my customer and then ask, who else is providing a similar benefit to my customer. More specifically, what alternatives does my customer have to receive the same value?

This is how you determine who your competitors are.

What are my customer’s value drivers?
The next step is to ask, what are the value drivers your customer uses to select your offering or the alternatives. In simpler terms, what criteria does your customer judge one product or service over another?

Think of it like this, when you’re making the decision of purchasing a coffee from Starbucks v. Dunkin Donuts, what makes you choose one over the other? Is it the ambiance? Is it the variety of beverages? Is it the customer service? Is it the quality of the ingredients?

Make a list of 5-10 of the top value drivers and try to avoid referencing specific features.

How do my competitor’s and I rank on these value drivers?
Now we want to visually show how you and your competitors rank. I like to use a line graph, but you’re welcome to use another style of graph that you prefer.

Begin by giving you and your competitors a score out of 10 on each of the value drivers based on how well each delivers on that value. I’d recommend bringing in as much real data as possible, but you can also assign scores based on your own intuition. For example from the coffee buying example, looking at ambiance, Starbucks has leather chairs, music playing, art on the walls, relaxing colors, so it I would give them a 10. While Dunkin Donuts, has bland colors, no art, hard uncomfortable chairs and overall focuses on serving you quickly and getting you to move on, so I’d give them a 1.

You will get something that looks like this, which is comparison of Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Brothers

Where are the big differences, if any?
Look carefully at your graph and identify the value drivers that you are above, below and matching the competition. If you’re hovering around the competition on every value driver, that’s a bad sign, because then you are in the market to simply play with the competition and are not adequately giving the customer a reason to choose you over the competition. 

Blue Ocean strategy refers to this as a red ocean. A place where there is lots of competition and each player is fighting for every inch of the market. This isn’t a place you want to be.

You want to be head and shoulders above the competition on at least 1 value driver. There needs to be a reason for the customer to come to you over the alternatives. 

The next question is whether that value driver is something the customer truly cares about and is a reason to choose you. The only to find that is by testing that assumption with customers. Get your offering in the hands of your customer and push on what you identified and determine if it is something they’re jumping up and down about.

Once you do identify something that differentiates you, make it the focus of everything you put in front of the customer or that the customer sees, i.e. the first thing they see on your webpage, your marketing materials, etc.

Brian Moelich is an innovation strategist, entrepreneur and educator. He is a Business Designer for Citrix Systems in Silicon Valley, where he co-manages an internal innovation incubator and is also a mentor for the Citrix Startup Accelerator. In a past life, he was a physical security consultant to IBM in Canada.

Brian holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where he worked on live challenges for Celestica, SAP and Infosys Technologies in Bangalore, India. He has received numerous awards for his work, is an advisory board member of Frost & Sullivan’s New Product Development and Marketing Committee and is a regular speaker and workshop facilitator on the topics of design-thinking, business model design and innovation.

Products Are Everything!

By Rick Rothenberger

Vice President, Engineering
and New Product Development

Eaton’s Crouse Hinds Business

Essential Elements For Growth

Every company is in business to be successful as an enterprise. One of the primary elements to being a successful business is delivering profitable revenue growth on a recurring basis. There are several key elements to being successful at this, but success usually starts with a constant flow of new products that are superior to your competitor’s offering. We all know that products that offer the right level of features, reliability and functionality at the right price point will be wildly successful in the Market, assuming other critical functional areas of the business are credible and performing well. 

The second key element in achieving success occurs by serving your customer better than anyone in your chosen market space. We will discuss this more later, but figuring out what your customers value in a business relationship and why they would rate your business better in customer service over your competitor is a task in its own right. The combination of excellent customer service and a constant flow of superior new products will not only help you grow the top line, it will enable you to get your price in a healthy market. 

The third and final primary element for business success is having world class operational performance including sourcing, supply chain, manufacturing, quality and logistics. Performing at world class levels allows you to delivery high quality products to your customer, on time, within acceptable lead-times and provides a good margin return to the business. 

Constant Flow Of Superior New Products

Now we will explore how a business can achieve a constant flow of superior new products. You might ask yourself why a constant flow of superior new products is important, and the answer is that not only does it give your sales people a reason to go visit their accounts and talk about how great your company’s new products are, it gives you the ability to use product innovation to provide higher value to your customers than your competition can. Things like more energy savings, longer time spans between maintenance cycles, improved operating safety conditions and so on are all things that innovation can bring to your customers. Oh, and don’t forget about innovating to achieve a low cost point with a minimum feature set – all keys to entering the lower end markets in developing countries. Probably the most important thing about product innovation is that it keeps you ahead of your competitors and provides your customer value that the competitor cannot match, giving you the competitive advantage that you desire. Staying ahead of your competitors with your product offering is critical to providing that much needed revenue growth.

What Does A “Superior” New Product Look Like? 

So what does a superior new product look like? As you might imagine “superior” can take on many forms, but defining what the term means in a competitive sense is one of the most important aspects of developing a successful new product. Each new product development project must have a scope and specification that clearly differentiates it from the competition. The project scope and specification must adequately define the product’s competitive differentiators on a line item by line item basis, along with cost points and the service offering associated with them. Getting the scope and exact feature set, generally, is trial and error with the early part of the product development process focused on taking rapid prototyped models out to lead customers to get feedback on proposed features sets and design approaches. 

Selecting 3-4 lead customers to visit with early prototypes will allow for adequate feedback to modify the project specification into something that will define a successful product in the market. Once the customer has helped you clarify what features are valuable to them, they have also helped you get a good price for the product you eventually will sell to them.
Now that you have the coveted new product specification, you can go about innovating to deliver the value and feature set identified. In many cases innovation will be driven by new functionality, new space requirements or new price point requirements. It is always beneficial to use the most elegant, simplified, cost effective design that you can to achieve the functionality needed for the investment you can afford. 

Simply put, you can innovate to achieve an ultra-low cost point which gives you tremendous pricing flexibility, especially when competing on package level business or you can innovate to provide feature sets that competitors can’t – or you can combine your innovations to achieve a superior product at a superior price point, margin and functionality level. It all depends on what product objective and time to market target you have set for development.
To be a true, sustained product leader in the marketplace, a company needs sustained innovation and a constant stream of new products. If the company can achieve this they will be very difficult for any competitor to match, and will enjoy a consistently favorable position with their customers.

Multi-Generation Product Planning 

One of the most important new product planning processes is the multi generation product line planning process. The end result of this process is a high-level definition of how the product line will evolve over time, which includes a general description of each new product launch and the timing of the launch across the entire product line. Typically, the multi-generational product line plan is graphical with the horizontal axis representing a time scale, generally 2 years out, and the vertical axis representing various major product families within a given product line. Successful product line driven businesses tend to have a single lead product line manager who is responsible for developing and maintaining the multi-generational product line plan, this allows for clear ownership of the product line plan and provides the basis for new product development project planning and project timing to be defined over the 2 year time horizon. 

Data sources used to define the product line plan come from a variety of places, but the most important ones include the competitor’s product offering, and a direct understanding of what products customers are demanding and/or using that are needed in the company’s product basket. Keep in mind that each new product shown on the product line plan will have a detailed product specification, and new product development timeline defined. Technology trends that impact the company’s products are also considered in the multi-generational product line plan, but generally find themselves embedded in the detailed product specification, ultimately providing feature sets that provide a differentiated product when compared to competitive offerings.

Technology-Push Innovation 

At this point, it is valuable to consider the concept of “technology push” innovation and how it is used to create leapfrog products that can put your product offering well ahead of the competition when launched. Technology push innovation is the concept of letting completely new product and platform ideas come about based on a technology looking for an application, rather than an application looking for a technology to enable a specific feature-set. The notion of technology push is used to challenge established architectures, and essentially begins with a clean sheet of paper and a fresh start to thinking about a company’s products. My experience is that the use of technology push innovation challenges the status quo, and demonstrates what could be done with new thinking on age-old products.

When using technology push innovation techniques it is very important to work closely with lead customers to evaluate new thinking, and iterate to the embodiment of the product that delivers real value to your customer base, this way your chance of success in the market is improved. The lead customer or user group is also important in the development process in that they provide you the ability to fail quickly, learn quickly, pivot and come back with revision 2 for another round of lessons learned. Eventually the right combination will be discovered and the product will be ready for introduction.

Protecting Your Innovation

The last topic for discussion involves protecting your product innovations from being copied. Failure to adequately protect your innovation will result in the loss of competitive advantage for your company since competitors would be free to use the innovation in their own products. The most common form of protection used is the patent system which is available in most countries of the world. Patents are a viable method of protecting most innovation, but in some cases other forms of intellectual property protection are the more appropriate. Other protection concepts to consider include the use of trade secrets and trademarks, to name a few.

The value of a steady stream of superior new products to the success of a business is very clear. Without new products a business will eventually reach a point of maximum share, and be forced into a situation of plateauing sales and little growth. Practicing the methods discussed in this article will certainly improve the new product growth and success of your business, and, if executed well will position you nicely against your competition.

Improving the Product Development Process

By Henry Ashton
Director, Product Development
Henkel Corporation

A question often asked is, “What is the correct way to do product development?” or “How should we set ourselves up to do it?” The answer is to be enabled by structure but more dependent on HOW all the stakeholders act. It is important that the stakeholders know and understand their role in the overall process and what is expected of them. 

Many companies set up departments called “product development” or “research and development.” In some respects this is unfortunate as it can tend to compartmentalize the product development process.

It’s All About the People

To succeed, product development must be a cross-functional activity that includes the active participation of all stakeholders* across all functions. The Technology, Marketing, Finance, Operations and Quality functions all have key roles to play in successful product development. Additionally, customers and end- users should be brought into this activity as early as possible in the development cycle.

In addition to being a cross functional activity, PD is also a team activity and process. Unity of purpose and alignment towards common goals are necessary for the team. All team members must feel the sense of responsibility that belonging to a team entails. This means that it can’t be a team just in name. Every team member has responsibilities to the team to provide on-time deliverables. Every team member has responsibilities to other members of the team, without exception. One cannot demand accountability from others without an acceptance of his or her own responsibilities to others. 

While there are tangibles in terms of deliverables we must also consider the manner in which teams go about their business. This is one of the intangibles that can influence the sense of belonging to the team and the individual and collective morale of the team. 
A factor that is often overlooked in the process is sincerity of intent to act as a true team player. One of the causes of delays is the belief on the part of some functions that they are the “masters” of the process and other functions are the “doers”. This causes alienation and is disruptive to team unity. Everyone deserves to understand the contribution of all the team members and how they fit. All team members own the development process.

Maintain Clarity of Objectives

Similar to other activities, PD succeeds when there are clear objectives, good organization and cohesive teamwork. However, there are some factors that are unique to successful PD. Maintaining forward momentum is key on projects. This goes hand-in-hand with effective time management. There is in reality a finite window of opportunity to develop and launch new products Successful teams manage the time available and maximize the number of development iterations within the time available. A project can fail in the time that it takes to be successful if time and effort are actively managed.  

Product Development is An Iterative Process

The reality is that product development is not achieved according to a successful pre-written recipe at the first attempt. It requires several iterations before a final prototype is arrived at. One way to speed up the iterative process is to involve both manufacturing and the end-users at the earliest possible stage in the development process. This approach also helps the team adjust to the dynamic of changing targets and gives the development team the best chance of staying ahead of the competition.

Along the development path there needs to be frequent re-calculation of the cost basis for the project.  This is a key element in the process of iteration.

Risk Management

Implicit in any iterative process is the fact that an impasse may be reached that renders the project unsustainable. Therefore the team has always got to be prepared to kill a project if the facts so dictate. Naturally, the earlier in the overall process the better. As the team proceeds through the various steps of the project a key goal is risk mitigation. Risk of failure has to diminish as the project progresses.  

Today, sustainability, supply chain and logistics have also to be considered. Built in to the process of iteration is the ongoing verification and validation of results and market fit as well as ongoing validation of required raw material supply chains and product distribution logistics.

Launch – Team Support is A Critical Success Factor 

Finally, support during the product launch is critical. The product launch is not a point in time but rather a period of time over which market feedback must be closely monitored and evaluated. Technical service is non-routine during this period. This is the time where the product developers, technologists and the manufacturing teams must be involved up-front and kept in the communication loops. It may be necessary to make process and product modifications based on marketplace feedback. This is the phase where secondary likes and dislikes (some might say intangibles) of the product come to light for the first time. Therefore engagement of the development team is critical during this phase. In effect the launch phase should end when the development team is in a position to leave the launch process and the sales and maintenance of the product can become more routine. 

A Salutary Exception

I am aware of one salutary exception. It was theorized that company X could make a product by piping a reagent (A) from a neighboring company site to react with an existing product (B) to afford product C. The chemistry was simple, well known and understood. No product development was done, no scale up parameters established. The first time the product C was made it was done on full production scale. A set of production conditions was established and the first production run produced the desired product.  Product C was on the market in less than one month. 

All went well for about a year, then the complaints started to come in about performance. Since it would have been too costly to troubleshoot on full production scale, the R&D group was asked to resolve the issues. The problem was they had no basis to start from on laboratory or pilot scale and had no idea how their work on lab scale would translate to the full production scale. There was little understanding or measurement of how the process was impacted by changing inputs or how robust the process was. The missing development work had to be started under the pressure of mounting complaints. 

The result was that after about three months a modified formulation was presented for scale up. It did not work as planned. Thus began a process of scale up work to translate the results from the lab scale to the full production scale. This lasted another two months. After this time a modified recipe was successfully scaled up. However, the damage to the company’s reputation was done. What could have been a high revenue product with high profit margins became instead a niche product with average profit margins. A key lesson, learned the hard way, was that product launches have to be carefully planned, managed and supported.             

*Stakeholder – defined simply as anyone who is influenced or affected by the progress and outcome of the development project.

Henry Ashton is North American Director of Product Development at Henkel Consumer Adhesives. He leads a team to develop new products for the professional home construction and retail DIY markets.  

Since joining Henkel in 2010 he has led the development team and has worked closely with customers to re-design successful product lines with new sustainable technology solutions. 

Henry has thirty years of experience in petrochemical and plastics industries on both  the R&D side and product / process scale-up and commercialization, including international technical service and business development. He has lived and worked in The USA, The Netherlands, Canada and Ireland with major global corporations such as General Electric, Henkel and Syntex  in addition to smaller companies such as Schneller and Huber. Henry holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the National University of Ireland and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry & Mathematics from University College Dublin.