In a competitive environment, with rapidly shifting markets and leaps in technology, it is important for companies to be flexible and to rise to the many challenges related to product development. But many companies struggle with combining customer-focused deliveries with the development of innovations for future business. The priority is either to meet the scope and ensure a healthy quarterly profit or to research innovations that will secure revenue in the future. Whatever the focus, the outcome is oftentimes tension between departments and inadequate goal control.
It appears to be a never-ending tug of war. Profits today or profits tomorrow. Adding new features that the customers ask for now or what they will potentially ask for in the future. But is it possible to combine product development and innovation in everyday work? Is there a way to increase the number of innovative solutions to problems that will enable future businesses? Is it even possible to align ideas in an early phase of innovation for the future needs of the business?
In close collaboration with a customer in high-tech industry, we have developed a new approach for integrating strategy, gap analysis, ideation, and knowledge reuse. We utilize gaps of knowledge to inspire, prioritize, and sponsor innovation, without compromising the ability to successfully transfer mature technology into products. Before, this strategic work was conducted on a general level which did not provide useful information to the engineers working with product development and manufacturing. It lacked detail and was not properly connected to the existing technology, product- and manufacturing roadmaps.
We call this solution GapMap. By visualizing the needs, knowledge gaps, and ideas for solutions in a structured way, GapMap makes it easier for everyone in the company to see how they can contribute to innovation in their daily work. It provides an overview that makes it possible to launch initiatives in areas in need of advancement.
The results showed a significant effect on both the quantity and quality of the ideas and innovations that were generated. By visualizing the knowledge gaps, we can end what appears to be a never-ending tug of war. We can unite departments and make more people contribute. That is what we call efficient innovation by visualization.
If you are interested in learning more about this, do not hesitate to reach out firstname.lastname@example.org