How to Unify a Company Behind a Product Innovation Strategy

A product innovation strategy is important, but it will only be successful if implemented in the right way. We've had success with this, and we'd like to share our method with you.

Does your company have a product innovation strategy? Great!

Does everyone in the company know about it? Are they all unified and working in the same direction?

Are you sure?

This is a common problem faced by many companies, but we recently found great results from an easy-to-implement solution. In the spirit of collaboration, we’d like to share it with you.

The Industries of the World are Changing

The automotive and software industries are increasingly overlapping day by day, and the merging of the two lead to some extraordinary challenges and opportunities. There is a lot of potential for progressive growth for stakeholders, so we’re constantly reading, hearing, and discussing these topics. Just think about some of the buzzwords flooding the world around you: the IoT, personalized-predictive functionalities, and autonomous driving technologies. These are just a sampling of ideas that have product development prospects if used wisely.

The Challenge of Tech Companies Staying Relevant

It’s now common knowledge that a tech company absolutely relies on long-term innovation if they want to have sustainability in the future. Without it, they’ll be struggling in 10 years’ time, no matter how well they’re doing today.

There are many factors for a company to reach their full innovation potential, but in this post I’ll focus on only one: the company-wide identification with the product innovation strategy.

Identifying and Managing Strengths

Before moving forward, it’s important to identify the most important aspect of your organization. Just like most software companies, our most valuable asset is the engineering know-how, so we put a lot of effort into managing it properly.

Doing this is more than just selecting the most talented experts. Many other factors are important, such as the transfer of industry-specific knowledge, providing a proper work environment, and the implementation of well-defined processes. Perhaps the most important is having a result-oriented attitude among the employees, and that is something which can be strengthened by conveying a clear vision and well-adapted goals. One good method to achieve this last point is to organize internal social events. They can help the participants understand and get involved in the long term product planning, and have the opportunity to influence the product conceptualization with their questions and comments

Our Solution to the Problem

Theoretical concepts are great, but I want to give you some ideas for real-world application by sharing a successful event that we held in the fall of 2016.

NNG’s Product Management Team organized the first Product Days in the company’s history. It lasted for 2 days, and it had 30 different presentations, product demonstrations, and workshops. Participants learned more about actual product planning targets, could test various prototypes, and discussed the future of the industry.

After Giles Shrimpton (CEO), Tamás Szabó (PD), and Tamás Kerecsen (CTO) kicked things off with their opening speeches, the event was composed of parallel tracks so that multiple presentations were happening at once. The attendees could learn about actual navigation market trends, get an overview about NNG’s current product portfolio, and understand the applied methods to collect user behavior data and improve user experience based on them. There were sessions about special, electric vehicle-related feature developments, the future of the smartphone companion app, Chinese and Japanese uniqueness of a navigation software, new cloud-based content update technologies, cyber security systems, UX prototyping, the hybrid (on- and offline) navigation concept – just to mention a few specific examples.

Results Worth Listening To

Feedback from the attendees confirmed that event was very successful. Considering that approximately 40% of the company attended, that was very good news! The expert presenters contributed to employee engagement, and some additional comments were that they enjoyed the holistic approach of the product presentations, the demonstration mid- and long-term product roadmaps, and the overall feeling of transparency giving that provided a wider context to everyday tasks.

There were plenty of lessons that the organizers learned during the event, and we’re already excited about the next one this year!

Invest in the Future

Many industries, particularly technology and automotive, are witnessing significant changes on a daily basis. Because of that, you need to know your destination before you get there, and everyone in the organization has to contribute.

If you’re struggling with getting everyone in your company involved in your product innovation strategy, we highly recommend you try a similar method to the one that’s working so well for us.