The Secret to Increasing Growth without Increasing R&D Spending

One of the great things about the technology business is that you invent your company’s assets by harnessing the global brain power of your enterprise. A few years back, Strategy+Business published their annual survey of the 1000 companies in the world that spent the most on R&D. What they found has important implications for innovators […]

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The Q1 Ops Review: How to Make it Count

The first quarter operations review is one of the highest leverage meetings of the year, as the actions taken as a result of this one meeting have a huge effect on the trajectory of your team – informing the next planning cycle and beyond. The problem is that these meetings can easily fall into the […]

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Releasing Innovation: Riding the Wave

  Something amazing happens when large market forces and high-quality research come together in your product development process — a wave of innovation moves through your company, lifting up and carrying the ripest ideas all the way to market without losing their freshness and vitality. However, most companies are actually doing the opposite — they […]

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Why We Need Difficult Leaders

Like so many others in our field, I devoured the Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs the moment it hit the shelves. I was struck by just how far Jobs was from our current managerial ideal, being as he was notoriously difficult and exacting in his vision. Many thousands of hours of managerial training have been […]

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How to Earn Your Place on the Boat

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how a breakout project team needs a kedge anchor to succeed. In sailing, the kedge anchor is sent out ahead of the main ship with a select team of sailors on a long boat. This team drops the kedge anchor in just the right spot so that by […]

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Tackling a breakout project? Find a kedge anchor

We’ve all been in that meeting. You know, the one where you’re planning the upcoming year and, inevitably, the operating team wants to take on programs with the highest chance of return  — the low-hanging fruit. But as the senior leader in the room, your intuition is telling you to sponsor one of the projects […]

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How to Win When the Game Changes

As a young product manager in the mid-90’s, I was sipping champagne and enjoying company cafeteria cake in Finland with the executive team of a multinational cell phone company. We were celebrating their new cell phone, whose battery life was measured in weeks, not days. But as I sipped my champagne from a plastic cup, […]

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What “Top Tenners” Can do in 10 Days

Getting the Call I was on my normal early morning commute when my cell phone rang; it was the leader of an advanced technology task force for the government of a large Midwestern state. I had been collaborating with this team on securing a multi-million dollar national grant for their region. The promise of our […]

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Sometimes You Need to Hear “No” to Go Deeper

We slunk back to our conference room and stare at the walls and table littered with papers. Weeks of pulling data, drawing graphs, running complex simulations: REJECTED. Our team’s substantial capital request to increase raw material production capacity had been denied! If our forecasts were correct, we’d be unable to meet customer demand in 12 […]

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