Improving New Product Launch
Customer co-design is not a new idea in product development circles. But doing it right and getting a return on investment can be a challenge. For an organization operating on three continents with more than a hundred new product teams, increasing the application of proven best practices can make a big difference.
Amy (the frontline leader recruited to take on the challenge) was initially skeptical about using IMPACT to lead the effort. As she recounted,
“I’m very accustomed to using video conferencing tools with my team and didn't relish the idea of learning a new program just for this assignment. But after going through the IMPACT team simulation I was excited about using the online brainstorming and prioritizing tools to get everyone engaged. I knew we needed fresh ideas for getting more of our product development teams to use customer co-design.”
Team COCO (as they dubbed themselves), with representatives from across the globe, launched online. In their first meeting, team members brainstormed over 40 ideas for encouraging greater use of customer co-design practices and organized those ideas for action all in one hour. A week later, the team convened again to prioritize their ideas for action, narrowing their focus to five IMPACT Actions, including:
- Conduct a survey to assess awareness of co-design methods, current application levels, and barriers to use.
- Document the co-design process and options.
- Consolidate and update the toolkit for planning and facilitating customer co-design projects.
- Gather and organize a database of co-design case studies.
- Develop a global roll-out plan to generate interest, incentivize usage, and gather results from new applications.
Meeting weekly and using the IMPACT Team Site as their guide, the team worked through the paces of converting these priority ideas into work products and action plans. Six weeks later the team presented its accomplishments and recommendations for further action to senior leaders. Their impressive work not only was enthusiastically supported, it also earned a commitment to increase the budget to fund more co-design projects emerging from their outreach program.
Reflecting on their IMPACT experience, team members greatly appreciated IMPACT being available to support their mission. As one team member commented, “We all came to this improvement effort with a lot of experience and knowledge. IMPACT allowed us to quickly and efficiently share and leverage that knowledge to develop a very focused and practical plan. Not only did we address the change management challenge of getting our colleagues to take on a proven, but unfamiliar practice, we had fun and learned a lot in the process.”