Chapter 7

Product Performance

How You Develop Distinguishing Features and Functionality

Product Performance innovations address the value, features, and quality of a company’s offering. This type of innovation involves both entirely new products as well as updates and line extensions that add substantial value. Too often, people mistake Product Performance for the sum of innovation. It’s certainly important, but it’s always worth remembering that it is only one of the Ten Types of Innovation, and it’s often the easiest for competitors to copy. Think about any product or feature war you’ve witnessed—whether torque and toughness in trucks, toothbrushes that are easier to hold and use, even with baby strollers. Too quickly, it all devolves into an expensive mad dash to parity. Product Performance innovations that deliver long-term competitive advantage are the exception rather than the rule.

Still, Product Performance innovations can delight customers and drive growth. Common examples of this type of innovation include: simplification to make it easy to use an offering; sustainability to provide offerings that do no harm to the environment; or customization to tailor a product to an individual’s specifications.

Even though “Service” is a separate type, service companies can and should also innovate using the Product Performance type of innovation. Do this by considering how to change the features and functionality of the service—delivering quality that competitors can’t match, completing ...

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