The failure to meet customers’ needs due to lack of insight is one of the main reasons why product launches fail, according to a recent survey from outsourcer Capgemini. The Collaborating for Innovation Study examines evolving trends in product and service innovation across the manufacturing industry. It is based on responses from 189 participants, primarily at management level, from companies based in 15 countries. According to the report, about two-thirds of respondents stated that less than half the products launched in the past three years have been successful, despite increased support for innovation at an executive level for innovation projects. The survey noted that even after companies have put marketing in the lead role for innovation, they struggle to understand customer needs and produce new products that effectively meet those needs. For many companies, R&D departments and internal priorities have too much influence as well. External collaboration Capgemini suggests that a more active use of collaborative technologies like Web 2.0, collaborative platforms, virtual worlds provide opportunities to address this challenge. In addition, more structured application of known and proven methodologies – like design-to-value and voice of the customer – can help improve success rates. In recent times, companies have adopted these key methods to improve their products and services, highlighted the report. A total of 79 per cent of respondents said the use of IT innovation tools assisted in collaboration with external parties. The study found that many manufacturing companies are leading the way in using these new technologies, including social networking sites and virtual worlds, such as Second Life, to drive innovation. The study reveals that companies are increasingly looking externally for help, with 50 per cent of respondents leveraging external experts to fuel the innovation process. Most companies surveyed said they were effectively carrying out a range of supplier collaboration activities. To comment on this article, please email the editor.
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