Presented by Angela Femmer
Director, Competitive Positioning
Brewer Science




In this session excerpt from the Growth, Innovation and Leadership: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange Chronicles, Angela Femmer discusses what it takes to intelligently leverage data for more successful innovation initiatives, and addresses current process challenges shared by the executive participants.


As companies look to become more diversified in new markets, the customer requirements for suppliers are changing at faster speeds than ever before. This is resulting in companies needing to look at more systematic pathways for their growth opportunities. This interactive session examined how to standardize your new product development by analyzing and connecting the endless amounts of data we have today. 


  • Framework for aligning business strategies to innovation strategies
  • Techniques for gathering data and communicating it
  • Key findings to align and accelerate product development 


  • Companies must start with a risk profile of potential projects when assessing new opportunities within current and emerging industries
  • The risk profile should include product delays, wrong strategy, miscommunication and other factors that might affect the successful release of the product
  • A vital component is understanding how to innovate on the business model front as a new era calls for different business models that appeal to the customer 


  • Participant challenges
    • Predictive modeling for growth
    • Accelerated product development
    • Balance prioritization
    • Maintain start-up mindset
    • Risk management
    • Business models
    • Pipeline management
    • Opportunity scaling
  • Frameworks
    • Knowledge management
      • Levels
      • Open to all
      • Culture
        • Incentives
        • Percentage of time
      • Technology and business unit integration for future directions
  • Techniques
    • Planning – single source of truth
    • Buyer persona
    • Community with advocates
  • Product Development Alignment and Acceleration
    • Gate reviews
      • Investment = multi-level decisions (director, executive, etc.)
      • Product
    • War gaming – input into projects
    • Central resource management for gate decisions and product determination
    • Resource quilt (program managers)
    • Two-tier portfolio decisions 


  • De-risk by starting with small projects before scaling up into large projects
  • Segment resources according to aspiration (discovery, brand, churn, CPG)
  • Benchmark: 60% incremental and 40% emerging technology


  • Pre-2014 – Product development started with the business unit and involved the technology strategist and marketing. Each unit acted as if they were external and separate
  • Present day – Corporate competitive positioning is vital and breaks down into competitive intelligence and marketing. The new approach means that business units must integrate and work together by drilling down into the data and using their combined expertise to unlock greater value 


  • Have an intelligence gathering process where departments such as marketing, technology, and research and development work together in a standardized fashion to solve problems
  • Assess strengths and weaknesses by making sure all data is available to de-risk new product development
  • All business units must operate in a standardized way to achieve agile processes and proper product deployment
  • Competitive intelligence gathering involves learning from the markets, understanding characteristics such as socio-economic trends, geo-political tensions and other factors that might affect product deployment and creation
  • Further, it is important to note that this process must be done a monthly basis


Key components in the competitive intelligence and product deployment process:

  • Global Economic Monitoring
  • Industry Intelligence
  • Company – Level Intelligence
  • Internal Roadmap

One critical issue is how some organizations spend time creating their tools while discounting tools in the marketplace. Industry intelligence processes solves this issue by letting decision makers and business units keep an eye on the industry. Watching the industry gives insights into similar products, the right tools, and other trends that help an organization to stop deployment of a copycat product or kill a project due to lack of value, thereby minimizing corporate resource waste.

Utilizing metrics like return on investment helps corporations to stay lean and develop products where they have a unique advantage, to potentially minimize risk. 


Institute a proper knowledge management system to coordinate resources effectively. The lack of effective knowledge management systems leads to a lack of informational awareness and inefficient product deployment. 


Angela Femmer and the participants agreed that it is necessary to create a culture that facilitates streamlined data sharing. Data and knowledge are essential components in making compelling products, but many organizations struggle with compiling, managing and maintaining data and using it effectively. Many corporate cultures do not prioritize data and knowledge sharing, where all business units and corporate leaders are on the same page and follow the same process. This will lead to less desirable outcomes.

To align and accelerate product development, create a strategy that takes a three-year look at current trends, connect with customers, and slowly tie current projects to customer demands in the future. Change is coming. Consequently, corporations must ask themselves: How are we adapting to embrace the ongoing changes in the industry? Finally, strategy must stem from valid data, current strengths, and be inclusive of all the necessary stakeholders within the organization.