The Hargraves Step Change Commercialisation Group addressed this issue with Selleys and Tom Davenport (with his Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) experiences) by sharing their experiences with this challenge.
Selleys outlined how they are spread across many markets in Hardware, DIY, Auto, Trade, Household and a market that they are developing in BBQ Cleaning (Who cleans their BBQ other than scraping off the residue the next time you use it!). In some markets they are the leading player in others a small share, while in BBQ Cleaning they are building the market through education etc. So how do they manage to focus on all of these areas with the same resources and not get sucked into to focusing on the present issues?
They start with a 4 year plan and an associated four year product pipeline for each category. Every quarter they have a snapshot of what’s required and if need be ideate opportunities to fill holes that have occurred through changing circumstances. Their Stage-gate® process starts at Gate 2 where a project is accepted and added to the list. The marketers own the Project from Gate 2 to launch / post launch review. They categorise their projects A-E based on a series of questions in three areas – market attractiveness (heaviest weight), longer term strategic fit with the minor weighting on ease of execution. They maintain their focus on the A projects as they believe that these will deliver substantial step changes and the A projects are part of an individuals objectives. Different parts of the business compete to get on the A list and realise that if they do not have an A project then resources will be diverted to support those that do. In total they have around 150 projects on the four year list (the bottom 50 are typically on hold but are there to be grabbed if holes occur). In any one year ~ 30 projects are being worked on. Their overall metric driving this is % to sales from products that did not exist three years ago which forces you to forgo past successes and reinvent yourself before a competitor takes the space.
Tom had a similar process and focused more on CAPEX type projects where CCA captures all of their projects, combining some and giving some direction to others. A senior executive is assigned a bucket of projects and his role is to screen these and agree on the scope. They use this pipeline to slot into gaps and resource allocation is done on a quarterly basis. A summary is produced that outlines what is coming up for approval so there are no surprises and feedback is given re any issues that need to be addressed. The role of the project owner is to socialise the pipeline upwards by working the corridors and obtaining executive sponsorship for the step changes. With their simplified Stage-gate® at Gate 2 project by project, they agree on the scope and when it should be commercialised. A second meeting then is held to allocate resources to ensure these timelines are delivered
In the discussion that followed the commentary was along the lines of:
- 2-3 projects per cell is about the capacity to maintain a focus.
- Networking to gain support for projects in your area that may not immediately benefit other areas of the organisation. The use of co-opting “volunteers” to assist in the early stages of ideating / scoping to gain a broader perspective
- Utilising seed funding for the more difficult higher risk projects, so that a fast – fail approach is utilised to ascertain likelihood of success and what needs to be done to ensure that success is achieved
- Can an iterative / incremental approach using the same resources and skill base such as Stage-gate® be used for Step Change or should you be isolating resources via a skunk works (CCA’s Futureworks) to ensure the focus and timeframe is maintained? Some organisations outsource their Step Change projects while using their resources for today, others run separate departments within their own organisation
- Handling the market requirements of Push through a channel partner / direct to market vs Pull from the consumer for step change concepts that should get you into different sectors of customers / channels.
To find out more about how we can help you collaborate with peers outside your industry/network, contact us.
This blog is the second of John Maclay’s series focusing on collaboration and learning from the Hargraves Commercialisation Group.