Product Leadership and Organizations

Any management student will certainly be interested in knowing what it is that makes organizations like Apple, Sony, Microsoft & Google etc stand apart from the rest and be counted as the market leaders. From an organizational perspective, these companies stand apart from the rest in their approach to product development that enables the organizations to become product leaders.

Most of these product leaders in the technology field are young organizations, headed by single or a group of young innovators who have managed to grow their ideas as successful ventures. They have not rested on their laurels with one breakthrough product or technology, rather realized fast enough that they need to pursue product innovation continually both in order to retain their leadership in the market with the existing products as well as introduce new revolutionary products to the markets. While some have pursued the path of improving the current product offering or new products by innovating using new technology etc, there are others who strive to understand the needs and wants of the customers and work to develop products that address such needs.

Whether an organization is young or old, the breakthrough in innovation comes from the internal culture that is driven by zeal to innovate, passion to excel and a need to keep charting new course all the time. Product development skill is different from entrepreneurial skill set. New product development calls for empowering a hugely talented and creative teams to keep innovating to break all records and motivating them to think out of the box. Creative talent comes from bringing together multi-disciplinary team consisting of individuals who are highly creative and are able to work together as a team across functions without any fear of failure. Google owes its initial success to its promoters but the subsequent breakthrough was achieved by the creative teams that worked on various developmental projects in social media marketing and technology fronts. Google has also been lucky to have a management team comprising of industry stalwarts who could commercialize their products, smell opportunities in the market and build product and solutions around the same. The best example of such innovation is the scanning and electronic publishing of books project spearheaded by Google.

Different organizations pursue product development in different ways. While companies like Apple, Microsoft and Intel tend to explore futuristic technology as well as work on the existing products to augment their features, benefits etc., Organizations like Sony and GE etc approach product leadership and innovation differently. Over the years they have defined a process for brainstorming and coming up with ideas based on the external environment and go about with concrete process to crystallize the idea into products. Pharmaceutical companies tend to invest heavily into R&D to formulate new products that can address the problems that have no solutions in health sectors. They tend to spend huge amounts on R&D and clinical trials and the developmental process can take long periods in terms of several years. However with a breakthrough product that is successfully launched in the market, the Company can quickly establish leadership and establish a long term growth oriented revenue stream from the same.

Though organizations do invent and develop new products, it takes a while for the market demand to pickup and the consumers to accept new products. Every time a new revolutionary product is introduced, the Company needs to spend huge amount as well as effort in building the awareness and creating a need in the market. Such effort and capacity to sustain is possible and available with Organizations who have streamlined their process of product development and leadership.


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