Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

It's the Economy, Stupid

These are famous words of not too long ago.  But at the time, I did not see people building their homes on minimum cost foundations.  To the contrary, if anything, the new home builders were more concerned with the stability of their investments.  It seems to me that builders of homes and the builders of new brands have taken completely different approaches tot heir investments in the future.  The builders of new brands appear to have taken the minimal cost approach, leading to fast, easy and cheap research.  The big question:  Is this a result of a short term vs. long term investment?  The builder of the new home knows it is an investment for 10 to 20 years.  While the builder of the new brand knows he/she will probably not be around in 1 or 2 years.  The builder of the new brand will be on another assignment or possibly with another company.  So what is the risk?  After all, if I move the project along quickly without spending very much money, management will reward me.  However, If I spend what is needed for a true assessment of the idea, both in time and money, management will think I am not capable of effective management.

Is it not time to hold people accountable for the management of their areas of responsibility?  We have certainly been voicing this for upper management lately.  How about middle management also?

A friend recently called me about helping him with a project that he was just assigned.  It involved developing and evaluating a new brand idea.  At the time, there was no prototype of the new product.  I outlined an 18-month game plan with some side research aimed at long-term effects to run beyond the 18 months.  He informed me that he had a total of two months to develop and evaluate the product.  My advice at that time was to save time and money by going out and purchasing a book of random numbers and use it for the report.  Needless to say I was not involved in the development and evaluation of the product.

Consider just a minimum product launch model like the following.  How could you achieve the research required in a span of two months?
  • Identify the Consumer Needs
  • Assess the potential of the need (both the need and competition)
  • Convert the Needs to Benefits
  • Create the Vision of the Product (Concept)
  • Develop the Solution (Product)
  • Assess the Potential of the Solution (long & short term)
  • Turn the Product into a Brand
  • Explore the Implementation (Maximize the Potential) Don't let a physical property or aesthetic kill a good idea
  • Introduce the Solution to the Public

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