Innovation Mapping

What does innovation mapping mean?

  • Analyze success and failure of products in the relevant segment/category.
  • Analyze & map activities in order to recognize successful/unsuccessful moves to repeat/avoid.
  • Identify key success factors for products in the relevant segment (perception, needs, communication, etc.).
  • Make better decisions regarding product innovation in this segment.
  • To achieve strategic decisions regarding the product category.

Innovation mapping is the ability to consider the products we launched in the last X years. We do this to understand our decision-making, the source of the ideas, failure/success, type of innovation (6 types), and to create a comparison to competitors.

innovation mapping

Innovation Mapping Tips

  • Define what will be considered a product, e.g. SKU, Line, or Category.
  • How far back are we looking? Need several dozen products.
  • Make sure to include failures.
  • Categorize products into failure/success. Agree on definitions.
  • Use visuals on colored cards (better .jpg) according to success/failure.
  • Compare to the pattern of competitors (mapping competitors).
  • Count number of products coming out (ours and competitors’) and the percentage of our successful and failed products.
  • Give tasks after the mapping process of counting and statistics, etc. These will lead to action items.
  • Decide how the products will be categorized, by region, brand, category, etc.

Various sources of product ideas:

  • Customers
  • Brainstorming
  • Competitors (mapping competitors)
  • Internal suggestions

Classic Innovation Map

Maps ideas or new products (recently released or in development) in the company. Look at the innovation map and see which products were successful and why. Then, the products are divided along the map. We search for correlation between the type of product and its success. The product categories are:

  1. Products that are new to the world – never existed, create whole new categories.
  2. New product lines – products that enable companies to get into established markets that are new to the company.
  3. Stretching a product line – complete and add variations to existing products.
  4. Improving products – changes and improvements in existing products that improve their perception.
  5. Repositioning a product – new brand, new promise, new target market.
  6. Cost cutters – the same product with lower costs. The customer is sometimes unaware of it. Either higher profits or lower price.

Create a Table

If possible, use laminated pictures (company must prepare this in advance). Innovation mapping parameters need to be set for what is considered “successful”, e.g. comparing the product results to the projections. Of course, the projections can be misleading. The group needs to come to an agreement about what constitutes a successful product. The team uses blue/red stickers to mark successful/unsuccessful products. They write why products were successful on Post-Its, which are attached to the back of the successful product pictures. Then put them on a big map (innovation map!). There is academic data about how all the new products in the world are divided into different categories (International Nielsen Report):

  1. New to world: 10%
  2. New product line: 20%
  3. Stretched product line: 26%
  4. Improved products: 26%
  5. Repositioned products: 7%
  6. Cost cutters: 11%

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