APQC Launches Study to Identify Best Practices in Early-Stage Innovation

Research Participants to Learn How to Organize and Pursue Innovation for Maximum Returns and Outcomes

(Houston, TX - April 17, 2008) - Targeted at front-end concepts before they enter the well-documented commercialization or product development phase, APQC's New Product and Service Innovation: Improving Front-End Effectiveness study will identify best practices in the early stages of innovation. The focus will include how to generate higher quality ideas, refine early stage milestones, and optimize the portfolio of concepts.  Conducted by APQC, a non-profit organization, more information on the research project and how to participate is located at www.apqc.org/studies/innov08.

"APQC's innovation best practices study will help organizations better orchestrate the chaotic front-end of the innovation pipeline, ultimately improving the market results of new products and services," said Marisa Brown, APQC senior program manager. "Via site visits, symposiums and networking, the consortium research format allows participating organizations to learn first-hand from best practice organizations in innovation."

  • In the initial, "fuzzy" stages of innovation, managers cannot squash pioneering ideas with too much structure, yet companies have an obligation to maximize the effectiveness of their investments. Study participants will discover:
  • Strategies for generating and managing more and better quality ideas.
  • How to identify high-potential ideas.
  • How leading organizations keep new ideas from being killed too early.
  • Who should be accountable for go/no-go decisions.
  • How to involve marketing and customers in early innovation efforts.
  • The key elements of an effective early-stage innovation strategy.
  • Effective systems and tools for capturing and tracking ideas.
  • How to manage the handoffs when concepts become projects.
  • How leading organizations determine if they are meeting innovation goals.

Joining Marisa Brown on the study research team are innovation experts Steve Wunker, senior partner with Innosight, and Donovan Hardenbrook, founder and principal of Hardenbrook Consulting and vice president membership development with PDMA (Product Development and Management Association).

The innovation research project builds on APQC's two previous innovation studies. Successfully Embedding Innovation: Strategies and Tactics, which examined the tools and cultural enablers of innovation. This study identified best practices at leading companies that included: Air Products, Boston Scientific, Computer Sciences Corporation, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, and Hewlett-Packard. Innovation: Putting Ideas into Action, which looked at how ideas move through an organization, identified Kennametal, Bausch & Lomb, IBM Corp, The Clorox Company, Procter & Gamble, and the Mayo Clinic as best practice organizations.

Consortium benchmarking studies employ APQC's award-winning benchmarking methodology that extracts proven, real-world best practices from industry-leading organizations. Participants get the knowledge they need to make major improvements in a fraction of the time and approximately one-tenth the cost of conducting an external best-practice study on their own.

The APQC "New Product and Service Innovation: Improving Front-End Effectiveness" study will launch in mid-June, with site visits scheduled for August and September 2008. It will culminate with a two-day symposium in October to share ideas and best practices.  For information or to review the study proposal, visit www.apqc.org/studies/innov08  or call 800.776.9676.

About APQC

A global resource for process and performance improvement, APQC discovers improvement methods, identifies benchmarks and best practices, disseminates findings and connects individuals.  APQC's employees conduct benchmarking and best practices research, offer training and publish reports on productivity, quality, benchmarking, knowledge management and other areas.  Founded in 1977, the member-based nonprofit serves more than 500 organizations. For information, visit www.apqc.org or call 800.776.9676, +1.713.681.4020.

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