George Farkas is CEO of an electronics engineering service company in the Pacific Northwest called Tsuga Engineering. His company creates portable power components for electronic devices, such as integrated power in backpacks and business cases.
Over his career George has helped several companies develop products that provide customers value. He is also certified as a New Product Development Professional (NPDP) by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA).
Practices and Ideas for Product Managers, Developers, and Innovators
Highlights from the discussion include:
- As an avid rock climber as a kid as well as an adult, George learned to take, manage, and mitigate risk – lessons he applies now to product development.
- Working well as a team by developing trust and collaboration is essential for product development projects.
- Huge advantage to a holistic product development process that applies a team approach and starts by meeting with customers face-to-face, then developing prototypes, and verifying the prototypes with customers.
- Product development can benefit from good sales management experience by having the best interest of the customer in mind.
- The winning product formula is developed by studying the customer and collaborating as a cross-functional team to deliver what the customer values.
- Using aggregate market data only, in isolation from real customers, results in a “me too” product that is more likely to be a failure.
- Face-to-face voice of the customer and ethnographic research leads to innovative insights.
- Watch out for those who say “we know what the customer needs” – the way to know is to iterate and co-develop prototypes with customers.
- Wrong assumptions early in the process can set product development work on a path that leads to failure because time is not available to correct the issues.
- Skipping proven product development and management processes leads to expensive failures.
- Executives role in product innovation includes developing the company culture to support innovation and create alignment in strategies.
- Executives need to understand the best practices in product innovation processes and know that such training exists.
- Don’t compromise a good product concept with a poor user experience.
- Don’t design a product based on opinions – base the design on real customer needs.
George shared a favorite innovation quote he paraphrased and attributed to Fred J. Palensky, 3M,
Companies whose innovation processes are strong and whose cultures strongly support those processes process a huge advantage.
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