Anyone that has seen a product through the development cycle and into market knows that it is an exhilarating, exhausting, and often emotionally draining exercise that can leave a team feeling both happy and tired. Considering the odds of success, launch is a milestone worthy of celebration. But it is just one milestone along the way to successful innovation.
We have to deliver real business results before we can declare victory.
This is a question of definition, scope and focus. Best-in-class innovation organizations define the scope of their programs to include launch, post-launch support and monitoring, evaluation of commercial results, and ultimately, a learning exercise that informs future development efforts. Without this, we run the risk of stopping short of the goal line.
I have seen amazing innovations get to launch and then fail to live up to expectations because of a lack of in-market support. Many times the scope of the original business case did not include advertising and promotion budget assumptions, there wasn’t appropriate cross-functional collaboration, or the sales team was not properly trained. Any of these issues and many more can create obstacles to success.
Brilliant ideas turned into amazing products is just part of the effort required in innovation. We’ve got to nurture that innovation in the market. The hard work done after launch determines success as much as anything else. If the end zone is in sight, there is no reason to take a knee on the ten yard line.