10 Tools to Focus Your Funnel

Is focusing your front end frustrating?

Thinking out-of-the-box puts fun into your funnel! It is interesting and creative.  It may be a useful way to approach problem solving and spark innovation.   But is your team drunk on divergent thinking?  At some point brainstorming becomes unproductive.  It alone doesn’t generate profit and it may leave you with a long list of unfocused, disconnected concepts.   convergent-vs-divergent2Eventually your product development team has to converge and focus on a product concept and business model that generates growth and profit.

Where to focus?  How to bring clarity?  The front end of product development does not have to be fuzzy and unfocused.  Get the fuzzy out of your front end with 10 steps and 10 tools that will help you bring clarity.

Get the fuzzy out.

Here are 10 tools to help focus your new product development funnel.

10 Steps

10 Tools

1.  Know the business strategy Strategy map (Ascendant Strategy Management Group Blog)
2.  Segment your market Segmentation schemes (Prizm® or other, or create your own.)
3.  Size the market segments Explorics® Nascent Market Sizing Calculator (Free download)
4.  Know your customer (user) Voice of the customer (VOC) research
5.  Know your competition Competitive analysis
6.  Know your value chain Value chain or value stream analysis (Check out MindTools®)
7.  Know your product life-cycle Product life-cycle curve
8.  Create a product line strategy Product line strategizing and road mapping (The Adept Group)
9.  Set targets for innovation Front end innovation tools (ibO Free)
10.Use selection criteria to screen and prioritize Screening process (Stanford Biodesign process)

This is a simplified 10-step view of a more complex front end process.   However, start with a simple approach and build capabilities one level at a time in order to bring the needed focus to the front end of your product development.

Along the way, please share tools that you find useful and effective in focusing your NPD teams and practice.  Make clear the path for other practitioners.

image credit: Phil Charron

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