Since I had been involved in new service development as well as in several startups before becoming an academic I was skeptical of formal product development models such as stage gate. But still there an attraction to research and planning, so much of the recent research on product innovation is disquieting.
Just Do It!
Agile development, lean startups, probe-and-learn, and effectuation all describe a rapid-prototyping-like process of simply (1) putting a “minimal” product into the market, (2) observing results, (3) learning, and (4) doing another iteration. In other words: Just Do It!
Nuances include keeping the “bet” small, so that you can afford failure and future iterations. And having a vision and discipline so that the iterations are more like controlled experiments than random evolution.
Marketing’s role is thus to be agile, to collect and understand data, and to adjust product vision. Forget the formal market research and business plans.
Brave new world for marketing and product innovation!
An aside: Origin of Nike Slogan
As an aside, do you know the origin of Nike’s slogan Just Do it! ?
Hint: It was inspired by the phrase “Let’s Do It.” Not the Cole Porter song made immortal by Ella Fitzgerald; that would hardly fit the edgy image of Nike! (This is the company that was still running commercials using the imagery of dog fighting after their spokesperson Michael Vick had been arrested.)
Let’s do it! were the final words of career criminal and serial killer Gary Gilmore before he was executed by firing squad in Utah.
Thanks for posting this message – it’s not said enough and I very much agree with the spirit of it! One caveat I’d make is to not forsake the market research step…but avoid the pitfall of analysis paralysis and/or overdoing it: As you say, just do it and be done. Too many don’t know there are simple market research short-cuts to check your assumptions that will get you 80:20 there. You don’t need to do the 80 page report. But at least do the minimal short-cut estimates. For knowing the total size of your aimed-for market as well as the competitors will help a company assay its progress – even on an open innovation path. Just because a company is embarking on an open innovation path doesn’t make them free of market forces, eh?