Creating Innovation Cultures
Article | Accountability Insights
When new product development and speed to market are vital to an organization’s success, people and teams must do three things very well: 1) create a collaborative environment where people stay focused on top priorities; 2) engage everyone’s inventiveness and creatively deal with obstacles whenever they arise; and 3) take personal accountability to hit deadlines and budgets. Doing so not only drives new product development from concept to launch, but also creates a culture capable of consistently turning innovation into commercial success.
Nestlé Purina’s pet food division applied these principles to cut the market introduction of its new EZ-Open Can by more than a year. Facing multiple obstacles—such as overcoming cross-functional boundaries, getting everyone on the same page, designing the special lid, installing new handling equipment, meeting an overwhelming volume push, maintaining quality, and integrating everything into the company’s supply system—the division set a powerful example for the rest of the company and was given the prestigious Pillars of Excellence Award by Nestlé CEO Pat McGinnis. One of the division’s leaders described her experience this way: “All goals were met, and many beaten, through the hard work of a team that wouldn’t fail to overcome all obstacles.” That’s what an innovation culture looks like.
Achieving new product development and speed to market objectives is always easier when the culture of the entire organization is aligned and all business functions support developmental and commercial success. In other words, creating and sustaining a culture that supports all stages of the new product development and commercialization process should be an organization-wide priority.
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