Educational Breakout Sessions


    TRACK 1: Identification: Finding the Right Opportunities

    Jumping into the Deep End: When the Success of Your Product Depends on the Adoption of New Technology

    Elizabeth Warren, Senior Product Analyst, CoreLogic

    When your product's success depends on your organization adopting new technology, what can you do about it? How can you persuade skeptical domain experts and frugal leadership to pivot toward emerging technologies? In a case study about deep learning, we will explore how to find a platform as an outsider, how to get the credibility you'll need with domain experts, and how to demonstrate early successes to appeal for a larger investment later.

    Finding Opportunities in Underserved Contexts

    Aruna Shekar, Senior Lecturer, Massey University

    The presentation will highlight some of the critical factors to consider when looking for opportunities in emerging markets and underserved communities. Humanitarian engineering is a rapidly growing field in response to global problems faced by under-served communities. Since the release of “The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” (C. Prahalad, 2009) there has been an increase in commercial interest in emerging markets (Radjou & Prabhu, 2012). This growth has resulted in many companies entering into product development specifically for emerging markets with mixed success. This presentation will share some of the successes and failures in these emerging markets, and provide insights into this growing field of Social Product Development. Some of the best practices and ways to identify and select opportunities in these markets, along with examples will be presented. The importance of contextual, social and cultural understanding of these rural markets will be highlighted in order to frame the opportunity in a way that delivers value to both the company and the end-users.

    Real Life Innovation – Find Money, Co-opt Naysayers, and Bring Good Ideas into Imperfect Organizations

    Samantha Bailey, Director of User Experience, Merrill Corp and Steve Hansen, Senior Advisor, Phase 5

    You’ve got great ideas and plans. You want to dig into your markets. But you’ve got zero research budget and skeptics in every corner. The company has, at one time or another, tried variations of every idea you have. But you can’t just stay in your corner and bring out "new and improved" puppy chow every year. Here’s what we did to jumpstart a long-overdue innovation:

    1. Be prepared when opportunity knocks: have a development and research plan at the ready, pre-vet innovation partners before you have an innovation budget, and learn what the organization had done in the past. 
    2. Clothe your innovation in the right outfit. Here we talk about how best to package your project. Sometimes dress up, other times dress down. If you are bringing out something to revolutionize the industry, but a significant contingent in upper management is risk averse, consider dressing down / going under the radar. 
    3. Bring your allies and your critics into the same room. Early. Literally. Here we talk about doing an extremely small pilot study to get early data and a read on the corporate appetite for directions of innovation. Make it a working session instead of a one-way report.

    Future Proof Your Product: What You're Not Thinking About

    Bryan Comeau, Manager, Worldwide Field Application Engineering, Monotype

    Product managers and designers responsible for the success of new devices know that they must consider product development objectives over the long term. They’ve learned that focusing only on the pressures of near-term deadlines can lead to sub-optimal releases, higher overall program costs and the failure to take advantage of evolving opportunities. User interfaces are an ideal example of the product element that benefits from long-term thinking, especially for products like phones, wearables, medical devices, automotive displays, entertainment, and IoT solutions. Product managers can put their device interfaces, and in turn user experience, at risk if they don’t make UI an early priority. In the past, the approach for early-stage typeface use was to rely on bitmap fonts. These fonts offer a relatively fast, low-risk way to get the basic UI up and running. But bitmap fonts can impose significant hardware costs due to their size, and the need to store each character multiple times. Compounding this challenge is that every bitmap font implementation is specific to individual devices. Add multiple products to the family, and expansion of these products into different languages and geographies, and product managers could be managing hundreds of different fonts (and many different licenses). By making informed choices to use advanced scalable typeface technologies earlier in the development process, product managers and their design teams can lay the groundwork for smoother transitions to better user interfaces, advanced product features and accelerated market penetration, while at the same time reducing overall program costs.



    TRACK 2: Creation: Idea to Tangible Product

    University of Florida’s Innovation Academy – The Future of Innovation Education in Higher Education

    Dr. Jeff Citty, Ed.D.,Director, UF Innovation Academy

    The need for the United States to develop a highly adaptable, innovation-ready workforce continues to rise. Employers don’t feel confident college graduates have the 21st century skills needed for the workforce such as critical thinking, problem-solving, oral and written communication. During this session, attendees will discover the undergraduate multidisciplinary model for innovation education that was developed at the University of Florida. This model utilizes a Spring/Summer enrollment pattern that includes an Innovation minor interwoven in thirty majors and a host of co-curricular experiences. The curriculum includes courses in creativity, entrepreneurship, leadership, ethics and a senior project.

    Strategies for Developing Innovative Personal Data-oriented Products and Services

    Andrew Brooks, Data Strategist, Graduate Data Sciences Instructor, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Berkeley

    Today we see the growing emergence of products and services that collect and analyze consumers’ personal data, from our search behavior and social interactions to our everyday physical activities. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have amassed tremendous valuations through such collection and analysis. Opportunities exist for companies across domains to develop such personal data-oriented products and services; however, there is a considerable risk with doing so. 

    In this session, participants will learn strategies to inform their personal data-oriented product development efforts. These strategies take the form of three Key Learning Points. First, how to proactively engage wth consumers and other stakeholders to secure a social license to offer such products. Second, how to design a value network for these products that can nimbly adapt to evolving social norms and regulations. Third, how to return valuable novel information to consumers, such as visualizations and metrics, in exchange for their personal data. Contemporary research and examples in several domains, including fitness, automotive, sports, and entertainment, will illustrate these learning points. Through these examples, participants will learn how to convert their ideas for collecting and using personal data into valuable products, services, and experiences.

    Hacking the Aspirational Identity

    Dave Black, Founder, DB3 Innovation

    You've defined some "personas", but do you really know what makes them tick? Traditional User-Centered and Design-Thinking approaches are great for the majority of products, but they rarely go beyond the "utility" of a product into "emotional utility"- the space where products really "resonate" with customers. This session is about digging deeper to understand how people see themselves. It will provide lenses and toolkits you can use to better understand a person's "aspirational identity" - the version of one's self that most people are too polite or shy to reveal, yet drives irrational excitement for a product

    Global Specialty Trucking Uses Design Thinking to Invent Driver Engagement Tool

    Marie-Caroline Chauvet, Partner, Insigniam and Jon Kleinman, Partner, Insigniam

    Hear a case study on creative solutions to for a trucking company using contract drivers with a 100% yearly turnover of their contracted drivers.  A cross-function team used design thinking to address problems and come up with a potential solution. After 9 months of hard work, lots of enrollment (both internally as well as with the drivers) the product is being beta-tested by a number of drivers and already received rave reviews. The President of the company says, "this is one of most exciting things we have ever done and has the potential to revolutionize how we do business."



    TRACK 3: Launch: Ensuring Commercial Success

    Go-to-Market Best Practices for Creating a Successful Analytic Product

    Farnaz Erfan, Sr. Director of Product Strategy, Birst

    The data generated from your product or core application can deliver insights to customers and become a commercial asset for you. However, too often companies treat data like “exhaust” a byproduct of their primary businesses – and fail to take advantage of data to drive customer engagement and create a competitive advantage in the market.

    This is a great session for product people who may (or may not) have built products before, but this is the first time they are creating an analytic product. The session will discuss tips, tricks and best practices for:

    • Getting buy-in: How to get your team and your executives aligned around your product strategy 
    • UX: How to pick your personas, their decision-making imperatives, and their analytic workflows 
    • Creating revenue: How to turn the business value of your analytics into dollars 
    • Product operations: How to examine your operational readiness and have a flawless launch

    Launch Case Study: Class II Medical Device Hansei, 1-Year Post-Launch Review

    Roberta Murnyack, Senior Program Manager, R&D, Steris Corporation

    370+ Lessons Learned (Hansei) were collected after launch of a Class II Medical Device, the V-PRO 60 Low Temperature Hydrogen Peroxide Sterilizer. One year of data was analyzed to show the improvements made for defect tracking, ECN processing, and launch readiness for upcoming NPDs. New framework was laid out for R&D to track, correct and audit system and software defects prior to and during product launch. The Corporate NPD process and associated templates were revised to streamline Program Management processes. New roles were created to improve future design transfer transition outcomes, including Design Transfer Manufacturing Engineers and Supervisors and Systems Engineers, from experienced to entry level. An R&D effort across multiple NPD projects led to creation of a new training matrix for functional competencies and “soft skills”; 50+ training opportunities were identified. Over 30 cross-functional team members contributed to this analysis and 1 operator from the plant in Mexico has been named “employee of the month” twice due to his ongoing contributions. Some of the lessons learned are intangible, but they are important to the R&D team and may be helpful for future team leaders. 

    Hitting the Ground Running: Getting to Market On Time!

    Steven Haines, Chief Executive Officer, Sequent Learning Networks

    Rapid product introductions are becoming the norm as product life cycles quicken. The product launch is not a one-time event. It’s not just a product release, and it’s not just the exposure of a new feature on a mobile app or a web page because the company is using agile development. The product launch happens over time and results in an announcement for a market-worthy new product or an enhancement to a current product. - Given the fact that there is much variability in how products are launched (or even how new markets are opened up), tremendous benefits will accrue to any company that devotes the proper resources and attention to this important process. These benefits may include faster time to money, greater brand recognition, and distinctive competitive advantage. This mini-workshop will provide participants with the proper context, an inspiring interactive exercise, and helpful tools and templates that can be applied immediately to any upcoming product launch.



    TRACK 4: Measurement: Performance Metrics

    SMART: Measuring the implementation of lean thinking practices in the Product Development process

    Dr. Myrna Flores, Lean Analytics Association

    How can organizations measure the impact of their lean implementation efforts in product development if they have no means to measure and track the progress? It is essential to put in place a performance measurement tool.

    Since 2009, as part of a European research project and in collaboration with several multinational organizations, we have been looking into variety of lean practices that could accurately describe the maturity of lean implementation in product development. What we identified is 56 lean practices which belong to four different perspectives: Processes, Tools, Knowledge, and People. These four perspectives encapsulate all essential practices to accurately define how lean an organization is, instead of focusing solely on financial and quality gains. There is more to performance measurement than just tracking how an organization is doing. Assessing the current and desired future state qualitatively can help to develop an evidence-based roadmap or strategy focused on the practices with the highest impact. Another important aspect when it comes to measuring maturity of lean practices in product development is the language used in the assessment itself. Over 20 companies that have used this assessment agreed that having a neutral language without specific lean terminology really helps to objectively and accurately measure their maturity, especially when front-end designers and engineers working on the innovation/product development process are involved.

    How to Determine Product and Market Success Using Product & Business Dashboards

    Steven Haines, Chief Executive Officer, Sequent Learning Networks

    How can organizations measure the impact of their lean implementation efforts in product development if they have no means to measure and track the progress? It is essential to put in place a performance measurement tool.

    Whether you’ve launched a brand new product, introduced an enhancement, or tried to capitalize on a new market opportunity, a high degree of real business diligence is required to track the performance of the product as it moves through its selected markets. Mindset, behaviors, and activities associated to products that are in-market are quite different than those related to new product development. Therefore, running the ‘business of the product’ is of utmost importance - Thousands of years ago, the ancient Babylonians created the first numbering system. They used tally marks and symbols to create calculations to keep track of time and communicate about quantities and such. During these early times, business people knew they needed a way to determine how their business was performing. Today, living without numbering or measuring systems is almost unimaginable. These systems are vital to planning and tracking product performance. - People responsible for managing products need a host of diagnostic skills allow them to make connections between independent observations and measurements—or to “connect the dots.” Without these skills, it’s difficult to manage the product’s business. - Without exception, senior leaders want product managers and others to speak the language of business—of efficiency and productivity—and to produce positive returns to the firm. Because product investments account for such large sums of money, this is not unreasonable. But having quantitative and diagnostic skills is only one part of the formula. Product managers and others need to know what to measure and how to measure it. They need to know how the metrics enable connections so that conclusions can be drawn. - This mini-workshop will introduce participants to the key methods, metrics, and tools needed to assure that any product can achieve success.

    Metrics that Matter

    Atul Kunkulol, Consultant, Rego Consulting

    Time to market is a key factor in a new product or enhanced product launch. In this session Rego will walk through a set of metrics we have seen used across many NPD PPM implementations that have helped drive down the time to market and identify key process areas for improvement.

    What’s New in NPDP Certification?

    Teresa Jurgens-Kowal, President, Global NP Solutions

    New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification is the elite credential offered by PDMA for innovation professionals around the world. New product development is virtually the only way companies can stay ahead of the competition in today’s fast-paced, globally competitive world. Companies that follow structured new product development processes typically report higher growth rates and sustain higher satisfaction of strategic goals. The NPDP certification program is undergoing a major update, content, structure, and questions for the exam have undergone significant improvements to reflect latest best practices, industry learnings, and trends in innovation. This presentation is designed for individuals already holding their NPDP certification to learn what’s new in the new product development professional credential. Additions/deletions to existing sections of the NPDP exam will be discussed in brief, including strategy, portfolio management, the new products process, culture & teams, and market research. We will also address the long-awaited section on life cycle management. In particular, significant updates to the new products process section include the addition of lean and agile product development processes as well as the important role of design thinking in new product development. Market research is updated to reflect current social media trends including crowdsourcing and big data. The new life-cycle management section describes a product maturity model and brings in the emerging topic of sustainability in innovation. This session will help all credentialed New Product Development Professionals to improve their knowledge of the NPDP certification exam and relevant current knowledge. In addition, learning about the NPDP updates will help you further evangelize our terrific profession!

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