Discoveries Newsletter

Volume 11, #7, December 2013
Ditch the battle metaphors to find the balance between structure and flexibility that works for you
by Sheila Mello

War analogies to business have been around for a while. They should be retired from business in general and product development in particular.

Volume 11, #6, November 2013
Three ideas to tame product development chaos
by Sheila Mello

Your company can enjoy great success fueled by little more than inspiration. A single insight, perhaps sparked by the founder’s direct experience, can drive the first wave of growth. But then... Here’s how to avoid the chaos that sometimes follows a fast, successful start—and get on the right track for continued growth.

Volume 11, #5, October 2013
The dangers (and surprising benefits) of multi-projecting
by Sheila Mello

Distraction, multitasking, and interruption are productivity killers. Here's how to find the right balance for optimal productivity.

Volume 11, #4, August 2013
When it comes to understanding customers, brevity is overrated
by Sheila Mello

In the right hands, brevity can convey deep meaning—but those of us whose jobs involve getting to know customers need to go deep.

Volume 11, #3, May 2013
Why you need an attitude change about the what, who, and when of research
by Sheila Mello

Making new stuff is exciting. We talk about inspiration, creative sparks, and brainstorms; we celebrate debuts and unveilings. But while launch celebrations are common, nobody ever throws a research party. It’s easy to neglect the R part of R&D amidst all the attention to the D.

Volume 11, #2, April 2013
Accounting for customer needs assures a high-value outcome
by Wayne Mackey

Many companies don’t measure R&D efficiency at all. Those that do often use a fatally flawed method: measuring sales per R&D employee. The problem with this common metric is that it provides feedback only after you’ve already made the mistakes that decrease R&D efficiency. Here’s a different approach to measuring R&D efficiency that takes a page from manufacturing’s book—and combines it with a focus on the customer.

Volume 11, #1, February 2013
Four insights for product developers from the movie business
by Sheila Mello

Filmmaking, as an artistic endeavor, differs in one important way from producing a product. But there are similarities, too, which we explore here.

Volume 10, #6, November 2012
How a restless search for the next problem can help your company achieve and maintain greatness
by Wayne Mackey

Greatness is not about the size of the problems. Rather, it is the attitude that all problems need to be addressed. The culture of restlessness itself can become a powerful magnet to attract great talent.

Volume 10, #5, October 2012
Cultivate beginner’s mind for customer-focused innovation
by Sheila Mello

Here's a reminder of what works—and of what you should pay attention to if you want to create a world-class customer-focused organization. At a recent conference, we explored best practices for finding new sources of VOC data, determining what matters to customers, and institutionalizing the process.

Volume 10, #4, August 2012
How a good front-end process can ease your journey into social media
by Sheila Mello

Does your company have a Facebook page? Are you tweeting? Is someone in your marketing department monitoring social media sites? Just ten years ago, these questions would have sounded like nonsense. Now social media is a part of the marketing mix you can’t afford to ignore.