Process Innovation and Customer Value [Video]

Dramatic shifts have occurred in technology and have transformed how firms do business and connect with their customers.  Innovation is enabling firms to organize in new ways, design better products, and manage supply chains. Winners in today’s economy will be those companies which can clearly define their processes, organize around those key processes, and work closely with their business partners.

      A key question is how do managers employ innovation as a best practice tool to effectively create maximum value for customers? There are three sources of technological “know-how”  --product technology (the set of ideas embodied in the product), process technology (the set of ideas embodied in the manufacture of the product), and management technology (the set of procedures associated with selling the product and administering the business unit).

      In a national study of 70 B2B technology companies, research found that process technology was the weak link with only 49% of firms mastering this activity (in contrast, product technology and management technology were successful in 81% and 70% of companies, respectively). Success rates were 67% for innovative cultures and 60% for research and development expertise. Medium and large companies were more successful in technology usage than smaller firms.

     There are many ideas on how to best innovate. Typically, various multi-step approaches are used to illustrate the innovation process. The accompanying video advocates a 5-step approach to innovation consisting of: 1) identifying the problem/challenge, 2) generate ideas, 3) find a solution, 4) test with customers, and 5) go to market/adjust.

     Innovation management can be studied as a process improvement technique across a spectrum of activities (R&D, new product management, cycle time reduction, creative personality types, etc.) and over the short-term and longer planning horizons. A variation in these findings may depend on organizational size, business or nonprofit, industry sector, environmental dynamics, or other considerations (management commitment to innovation, organizational capabilities, resources, etc.).

Video On Innovation



Weinstein, Art, Jin, Yan, and Barrett, Hilton (2013), “Strategic Innovation in B2B Technology Markets: A Need for a Process Perspective ,” Journal of Supply Chain and Operations Management,  11 (1), 64-76.

*Photo Credit:

 Art Weinstein, Ph.D., is Chair and Professor of Marketing and the co-creator/advisor for the Huizenga School Means Business Success!  Faculty Blog. He is the author of 7 books and more than 70 scholarly articles. His latest book is Superior Customer Value – Strategies for Winning and Retaining Customers, 3rd Edition, CRC Press (2012). More Info

The Cell Phone: From a Brick Size Clunker 40 years ago to a Major Marketing Tool Today

It is hard to believe the first cell phone call celebrated its 40th birthday on April 3, 2013. It then took 10 years to develop the first Motorola cell phone prototype into a commercially feasible phone gaining government approval in 1983. It weighed 2 ½ pounds and the cost was slightly under $4,000.

Today, the cell phone has dramatically shrunk in size and moved beyond its first purpose of telephone calls to a device for information consumption, information creation, and life management, driven by consumers, marketers, and rapid changes in technology.

The numbers are staggering. A recent study shows 87% of adults have a cell phone with about half using a smart phone allowing for full Internet connectivity. In fact, about a third of all cell phone users use their cell phone as their major connection to the Internet with apps accounting for the major portion of their Internet time. Two-thirds of smart phone users say they could not live without their smart phones.

The cell phone has become the consumer's tool for instant information from checking the weather, finding and reviewing a restaurant, comparing prices while shopping, to calling friends for advice on a purchase decision. Searching on PC's has been declining while mobile searching is increasing dramatically.

The iPhone began the age of mobile computing five years ago. Marketers have responded by developing customer friendly apps from the local bank to the largest airline. Apps for games, entertainment, news, weather, utilities, and music now carry ads targeted to specific consumers. As part of their overall marketing communications strategy, marketers must seek ways to understand mobile search behavior and how consumers use the software and apps on mobile devices.

Marketers will also need to innovate new ways to use the cell phone to improve customer experience for both products and services, going well beyond mobile banking or the ability to adjust the thermostat in your home. With its geo-positioning capability to determine your location, perhaps the mobile phone of the future will provide you with a coupon for ketchup as you walk down the aisle in the supermarket or send you an invitation to see a local veterinarian because your location showed you were in a doggy park.

Thirty-five years from now, when the first iPhone is 40 years old, will we be looking at the iPhone the same way we look at the first Motorola clunker cell phone?

Herbert Brotspies, D.B.A., is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. He may be reached at