Trilogy Tidings
February 2018
in this issue
     Pardon me for some personal recollections -- and associated advice -- this month.


How do you know what to build?               
     I spent the first half (more or less) of my career working for (mostly) relatively large medtech suppliers and contract research organizations. The mission in each case was innovation - you know, inventions, design concepts, product updates/upgrades, and improved development processes. I led several R&D organizations whose missions were to execute innovation processes in response to needs expressed by our colleagues in marketing and sales organizations.

     We were diligent, often creative, and always responsive to those stated needs. However, in retrospect, I often wondered if those stated needs were, in fact, real customer needs in every case. I doubted it. It's hard to argue with success - about $400 million in new-product revenue impact. But I now wonder what might have been.
     Were the stated needs always grounded in reality from the customer perspective? No. If they had been so grounded, would the financial results have been even greater? I think so.
     These realizations triggered the design of the second half of my career: Discovering customer and market needs and responding accordingly with technology-based solutions, i.e. answering the question: "How do you know what to build?"
     The answer to this deceptively simple question is a deceptively simple answer: "Ask the prospective customer(s) in the prospective market(s) what the unmet needs are." After learning how to answer this question - following several fits and starts - I documented my (mostly successful) experiences in a short white paper entitled " 10 Guidelines for New-Product Definition." My most comfortable zone is medical devices, in which products are personally used by clinicians; that's the focus of my suggestions. I recommend them to your attention.
      There are two issues deserving of special emphasis. The first is the constraint imposed by momentum. When a new-product opportunity arises from within your organization and momentum builds to get it done and launched as soon as possible, a powerful force is unleashed to charge ahead and avoid market-testing of the idea and especially to discount voiced concerns about the best way forward. The result is often a launched product or service that is less successful than it could be.
     The second issue is the single most important prescription for success: Get the senior staff out in the market to achieve the fullest possible appreciation for customer needs. In the medical realm this means observing clinicians at work in their clinical environments; experiencing their frustrations first hand; understanding how their workaday lives are impacted and how patients are directly affected. What product attributes would improve the procedures at hand? What additional information, and how that information is best conveyed, would yield improvement and greater efficiency? What product-design enhancements would reduce procedure duration, hence cut healthcare costs?
     Think seriously about how you can better decide what to build. Most importantly, do not drink your own Kool-Aid! The ultimate result will surely be appreciated by many.

How do you know if success is possible?              
     So now you are imagining a new-product idea. Don't go nutty just yet! There's a bit more work to do before you rally your internal troops or engage your favorite contract developer.

     You really need to first check a few boxes to screen your idea. That screening process will either endorse your new concept as a legitimate business opportunity or (sorry to say) it won't.

     You may have your own preferred screening protocol. If not, consider mine: " Your New-Product Roadmap."

     If your idea survives the screen you're well on your way to success, and you've dramatically reduced the likelihood of commercial failure. 
Resources from our Archives 
     Check out our Reading Room to view my published articles, presentations and white papers on a variety of topics.
     And, you can examine my Newsletter Archive of prior Trilogy Tidings (since February 2007).
What does Trilogy do? 
     Trilogy Associates facilitates business growth and renewal through commercialization of new products, providing the following services:
  • Opportunity assessment
  • Business planning and enterprise growth strategies
  • New-product conceptualization, commercialization and marketing
  • Market research and competitive assessment
  • Business development and partnering
  • Market and technological due diligence
  • Assessment of the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of novel technologies
  • Design of efficient and effective development strategies for early-stage biomedical products
  • Business and technical writing/publishing

     Inquiries to establish whether and how we might support your business initiatives are always welcome.  Contact us.

Contact Information
ContactInfoJoseph J. Kalinowski, Principal
LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/trilogy