By Patricia Jacoby
Publications Editor, Events
Frost & Sullivan



From March 25-28th at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, California, over 100 innovation and product development executives from across all industries came together at the 13th Annual New Product Innovation & Development: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange. Innovators, facilitators and inventors alike examined how to “Optimize and Monetize” their new product development initiatives, sharing lessons learned and the latest best practices, too.

Session discussions started with how each company should be embracing risk, and how to embrace the ongoing changes in the marketplace, specifically those brought on by technological and digital disruption. As most participants concluded, to ensure corporate sustainability, adaptability is key.

Organizational culture was also analyzed. Were companies embracing the positive aspects of change and growth and creating an environment that fostered this? How fast were new products or services tested, piloted and marketed? What about guidelines for new product development that minimized risk? Was a culture of Fast Fail a benefit to improve product to market timing? If so how was it done?

Another key industry issue addressed: What scenarios prompt the need to look at external partnerships? Or, as in the case of the newly merged Dow-Dupont organization, could the answer be found by examining the current product portfolio and re-prioritizing what projects worked and what projects were “dead weight?” The participants also took a hard look at whether their products could be enhanced with new technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality or artificial intelligence.

Of course, it would be impossible to capture all the insights shared at this inspiring event, but here are a few big take-aways from the the 13th Annual New Product Innovation & Development: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange keynote presentations:

In the opening “Mover And Shaker Keynote,” Embracing Risk to Ignite Your Products, People and Organization, Kevin Conroy, Chief Executive Officer, Conroy Media, was interviewed by Mitchell Berman, Managing Partner, Berman Strategic Advisors. Kevin, a self-described scale player and disrupter, “Always running towards the fire,” noted that, “Innovation and disruption go hand in hand, and scale is needed to impact a market.” Organizations, and the people within, must be open-minded to the upside and the downside. Too often, companies protect against the downside, rather than organizing around the upside.

In another keynote presentation, Assessing the Role of the Chief Innovation Officer in Today’s Organization, Mohan Nair, Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Cambia Health Solutions, discussed the evolving role of the Chief Innovation Officer. Nair believes the CIO role is changing in response to the importance of innovation for survival of the organization. He presented the following notable statistics from several different survey reports:

• 80% of executives think their current business models are at risk
• 84% of executives say that innovation is important to their growth strategy

Nair observed that all organizations seem to want to innovate, but the data suggests very few know how. His findings indicated that 80% of organizations cannot take the organization to a transformative level. The good news: consumers are changing, which provides opportunities for companies to transform and add more value. The bad news: if an organization misses a crucial growth opportunity, then it will hit a wall and may never recover. Blockbuster was provided as an example of this. Key advice from Nair: “Don’t put constraints on innovation early in the process; it can be constricting.”

In the Capstone Keynote, Innovation Game Changer, Ashok Chetty, Innovation Leader at DuPont, discussed the importance of making strategically aligned choices. Chetty noted that his company is using the “playing to win” framework, first defining where to play, and then developing a technology strategy for that space. This framework informs the product roadmap; it is the North Star and every idea must be tested against this background. To develop more breakthrough ideas, teams are challenged with thinking through trends, and looking for the white spaces where development is needed. This includes applying some resources on riskier bets. Finally, the organization operates with a vision to enable future capabilities, both in technology and in the people that are hired.

If you would like to improve your innovation strategy, it’s not too early to register for next year’s New Product Innovation & Development: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange.

If you would like to read more about the key ideas and take-aways from this event, contact to purchase the New Product Innovation & Development: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange Chronicles e-Book today.

Erin Graham, Manager, Production, Global Events, Frost & Sullivan contributed to this article.