To innovate, less is more

Phil Sutcliffe

Rather than launching a constant stream of new products, companies should focus their NPD on fewer, but better chosen and supported innovations, to meet customer needs and secure revenue growth.

When it comes to innovation, such a vital ingredient of business growth, less really can be more. The typical model for innovation is that a company stacks its innovation pipeline full of ideas, launching lots of new products in the hope that some will be winners. Our experience with clients has shown the key to successful innovation is to identify and develop a much smaller number of ideas that have the potential to make a big impact in the market.

It is often quoted that more than 80% of new product launches eventually fail, but it is not often appreciated just how quickly this happens. Analysis of new launches by our sister company Kantar Worldpanel (Figure 1) found that 67% of all launches were dead or dying within two years of launch and only 25% of launches were thriving in year two.