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Palo Alto 33

Product Design

"Innovation and Disruption"

Innovation and Disruption

For many industries this is the most important discipline of them all although some companies tend to underestimate the importance of sales skills and marketing skills to market your products or services. Product development is the work of engineers, designers, physicists, journalists, … and is a creative process. At Palo Alto 33 we strongly believe in the importance of a creative process that is accompanied by a discipline as to create an organization that is capable of creating new and innovative products recurrently, year by year to stay on top. As the life cycle of product tends to diminish and as the competition globally grows ever more, the cost of developing new products or services is augmenting. It is therefore important to create a creative process that brings the disciplines of Sales, Marketing and Product Development TOGETHER in meetings that inspire that data from the market and feed it in the development process and vice versa. Palo Alto 33 also looks at the ideal environment to foster these new services or products which depends if your company operates in an evolutionary or disruptive environment. The difference between innovation and disruption is a crucial one and it determines the way you deal with it and the way you organize yourself to deal with it. When Google entered the market with Google Maps, this was disruptive. When Toyota introduced the hybrid car, it was innovation at work. When you have to react to a disruptive force, it is better to start a separate organization. If evolutionary forces are at work, your own company should be able to deal with it by innovating.

Palo ALto 33 - Product Development Process

The Center of Activity The Process

Product Meeting


Seet the Point of View

Plan Implementation


Product Development Marketing Sales Customer
Consider the problem, issue, or project in question deeply on your own. Compare your thoughts with those of the other team members and listen open-mindedly to their perspectives. Question and challenge one another collegially.
Make sure you and your team ask the right questions about the problem. Spend as much time as you need to arrive at these.
Read and research.
Divide the topic among team members, read and research as much as possible about it, then compare notes and educate one another. Look for patterns.
Tap into the company’s vast network of connections to talk to the smartest people in the world about the related issues. Verify patterns.
Write down what you discover in a document, summarizing the research, conclusions, and possible options.
Conduct a collegial, open-minded discussion about the options generated in the think phase.
Be wary of one person gaining influence over the group’s decisions. At the same time, do not aim for compromise but rather for the emergence of a single, intelligent direction.
Determine the direction.
As a team, be able to state the mission simply, and define what constitutes success.
Assign an owner for the point of view.
The person who holds the point of view is typically the one who has P&L responsibility for the project; in cases of disagreement, though, the group can designate that the individual be a supervisor or even the CEO.
Stay the course.
Once set, the point of view can’t change in the absence of new evidence. Commitment to a course must be clear, further discussion, backtracking, and second-guessing must cease
Clarify, refine.
With the direction set, make the mission understandable to everyone outside the team who will be involved in the project.
Consider all stakeholders
in the effort and determine what part they will play in the implementation process.
Practice, practice, practice
so everyone will perform perfectly at implementation.
Select a spokesperson
so only one voice comes from the company on this initiative.
Play to win.
Do not allow half measures.
Celebrate the victory.
People thrive when they know they are making a difference. Give credit liberally where credit is due.