How do we get faster?

The Step Change Commercialisation Group addressed the Topic “How do we get faster?” Three companies presented and a summary is outlined below:


NPD accounts for 14% of annual revenue, releasing 30 new products in a year. They got faster by investing in People, Processes & Tools. This led to a change in behaviours and change of culture to an Innovation Culture. Their key learning’s were:

  • People – get synergy. Utilise a rigid portfolio approach so that they have an aggressive funnel.
  • Process – Don’t waste time inventing it by yourselves. Once you have defined the problem go find people who have already solved this. Put out a request for proposal / crowd sourcing to find the experts
  • Culture – slow down to go fast – slow down to learn about consumer – product/pack/shopping experience – understand all of this before ideation and develop iterative prototyping.


NPD is 21% of sales revenue, 124 projects in a year. They got faster by aggressively driving the Stage-gate process to reduce the time to market. They have focussed on the Scoping Document. They spent a week going through their total process with all stakeholders/functions and identified a range of existing barriers that slowed the process and have worked on these to address issues raised. They now have a fit for purpose Stage-gate that depending on the project and via a list of questions the answers to which will guide you into what’s required and where in the process you need to begin.


Shared their experience of utilising Agile Process to drive a business project.  In 2011, they took 30 people off-site for 9 months to work on a 2020 vision and utilised a member advisory group of 400 members on this journey. They developed 111 innovative concepts. Took 7 projects to the Board and then to the executive for buy-in.

They utilised essentially an agile process to develop these projects and went straight into build with sprints over 1-2 weeks for testing. Utilised minimal documentation to keep the pace up. By putting the Sprints up on a board they could see progress being made but unfortunately the IT development team were unable to come on board without formal documentation for any changes.

They learned that it was essential upfront to explain how the Agile process worked and to handle the queries/objections at the outset before starting as too often they fell back into conventional project management waterfall/cascading approach. Ideally they should have had cross functions in the same room (they didn’t and this caused issues).

They have come to believe that agile works better on discrete work to be completed over the next two weeks with scrum meetings lasting no longer than 10 minutes.

Image courtesy of Feelart at

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