By Adam Schalke, Director of Business Development, Gocious

Your company wants to grow. Your boss asks you to validate a new product strategy for the path they’re considering; your job is to help balance opportunity against risk. 

Your risk vs. success assessment can include areas such as:

  • market evaluation
  • competitive analysis
  • brand-new, disruptive product ideas
  • incremental product ideas
  • build vs. buy analysis
  • pricing strategy

You deploy proven research methods and use your favorite tools to come up with comprehensive data sets and important insights. You present them to the team in a combination of typical tools, such as PowerPoint decks, Excel spreadsheets, Word docs and e-mail. The team is excited by the data and seems to “get it” as you’re presenting it. 

However, once the research is completed and you’re on to other projects, how do you know if the product team was really able to put your work to use? And further, what was the impact made on the end project, whether it’s the go/no-go decision or actual implementation? And without this knowledge, how do you ensure that you’re growing and improving your output so that your team is on the right track and can put your insights to practical use?

Clearly, there’s often a disconnect between research and innovation teams. The issues are multifold – from poor communication to habitual use of “flat” non-dynamic tools (read: PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) – making collaboration challenging. With the lack of a single tool that multiple business units can access and work in as a “single source of truth,” even the most brilliant insights can be easily forgotten and dismissed as too much effort to decide for and use. 

With busy teams, the results are often lack of follow-through, leading to valuable insights that took tens and sometimes hundreds of hours to craft falling through the proverbial organizational cracks. 

There are a few important aspects to consider when solving for a more integrated process. Focus on these factors to better meet the end goal of being useful to the product/innovation team.

1. Eliminating bias

This could mean performing independent research through third-party firms, using existing research from reputable sources or using specialized software that allows for weighted scoring feature suitability as part of a wider set of features making up a complete product. Using the right tool, weighted scoring can give an impartial view into the optimal combination of variables that could either make or break a project.

2. Facilitating teamwork and transparency

Eliminating silos within organizations has been made easier with cloud-based tools such as Slack, Teams, Asana and G Suite, depending on the application. For product management teams, specifically, there’s Gocious, which acts as an organizing tool for product managers and their collaborators. Much like the other cloud-based tools above, Gocious brings business units together around the same data set and does so with features specifically geared toward a product manager’s daily activities that result in bringing an optimized product to market.

3. Increasing usefulness

Easier access to information and better understanding of it lead to higher utilization. Rather than providing the product team with post-meeting attachments that get lost in e-mail or sit in a five-levels-deep Dropbox folder, try instead a cloud-based editable tool – editability being key. If data can be segmented and queried (such as in Gocious), it means that researchers or product managers themselves can custom-tailor the information to the product analysis at hand and have the ability to re-segment/re-query if the project parameters change – or shall we say, as they change.

Solving for these elements should bring the researcher into the fold in a more meaningful way, while aligning research and innovation teams to serve a singular goal: putting the optimal product into the right market, based on the best information available.