I’ve had the chance to read Henry Chesbrough’s new book, “Open Innovation: the New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology.” It’s an insightful mix of practice and theory about how big technology companies are shifting their thinking about R&D — and the opportunities this creates for little companies. Following are a synopsis, a brief author bio, and two lessons I found especially important for start-ups. I hope you’ll buy a copy.
Established companies in established markets generally have some standard ways to package and price their new offerings. Product extensions are benchmarked against the existing product line or the other guy’s features and prices. This leaves product managers focusing on “faster, cheaper, better, more.” In a brand-new market, though, there are fewer guideposts. Close competitors may not exist. Even before final products are ready, you need to define initial packaging and pricing for your fledgling sales force and prospects. Otherwise, the sales team will invent it haphazardly, one visit at a time. Here’s a starter approach that I’ve called “Goldilocks” packaging.
How can we get inside our prospects’ heads early in the product cycle so that our “next new thing” meets their needs and desires? Or… paraphrasing Freud’s famous question about women, “What do customers want?”