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RIT NPD Forum:
Is Product Planning Obsolete?
Sponsored by the Technology Management Center/ Dr. John Ettlie
October 7, 2003

John Ettlie, Dir. of Technology Management Center, College of Business

- Academia is in the business of trying to solve the future problems that companies will have but don’t anticipate
- White paper entitled “MINE (Managing Innovation in the New Economy) Project” will be available soon.

Speakers: Dr. Michael Flynn, Dr. George Broughton, Mr. Hugh Valley

Speaker #1:
Dr. Michael Flynn, Ofc. of Study of Automotive Transportation, U. of Mich.

  1. The old model, of when GM dictated what the car market did, IS GONE
  2. Cst pressures are being pushed down to suppliers and NOT CONSUMERS
  3. Value-added activity has shifted
  4. Information sharing and transparency have improved
  5. * Corporate technology plans facilitate success
  6. * IT/web-based solutions will work in the future
  7. * Collaboration needs to work both ways
- Need to look at customers and your suppliers
- Car companies are traditionally info-acquiring BUT not info-transferring


  1. Listen to customers and suppliers
  2. Win through collaboration NOT coercion

Speaker #2:
Dr. George Broughton, Dir./Chief Engineer of Evinrude & Johnson Engine Division
- To attain real innovation, we had to integrate the marketing department in order to learn how to pitch the innovation

I. How Innovation Can be Accomplished
  1. Ability to Dream Past Conventional Thinking
  2. Differentiation in a “Sea of Sameness”
  3. Build a Team of Believers
II. Five Ideas for Leading Innovative Teams
  1. Deadwood is Death
  2. Work for a Common Boss
  3. Expect Innovation to Bring Problems
  4. Fail Early and Often
  5. Leaders and “Lies”

“Different ideas are not always great- but great ideas are always different.”

Speaker #3:
Mr. Hugh Valley, Dir. of Motorcyle Product Planning, Harley-Davidson

- Product development is an enterprise-wide responsibility
- How do we keep customers coming back to products that we can easily make economical changes to that will make lots of money?