The Back End of Innovation

In his earlier article entitled “Re-thinking the Product Development Funnel”, Gerry Katz proposed an updated version of this classic depiction of the new product development process, observing that almost all of our time and attention is spent on the front end of the process. As a follow-up, Katz now shines a spotlight on the “neglected stepchild” of new product development, the back end of innovation. This article discusses the many activities and decisions that make up the Commercialization phase of the process—product refinement, manufacturing, marketing, logistics, the purchasing process, field support, and customer service—with evidence that there is just as much opportunity for innovation in the back end as there is in the front end.

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