Innovation is a process, mostly it is managed for better or worse with some sort of stage-gate process.

Sensitive project management of innovation is vital, the context of the project, the culture, management engagement, business model, the source of resources used, funding, and all  the rest are critically important, and blend into a system.

However, one vital consideration often under-considered, or  missed, in development projects is the evolution of the Customer  Value Proposition.

Concentrating on the product, its specifications, the technology, operational considerations, design and engineering, and all the rest  are vital, but ultimately, it is the customer who puts their hand in their pocket, and allocates, or otherwise, their scarce resources to your products. They will only make that  choice in your favour when it is in their interests to do so.

Why is it then that the foundations of the value proposition, the identification, characteristics, interaction, and measurement of the drivers that will deliver customer  value  and therefore sales are often ignored, or glossed over? In my experience, it is usually because the developers fall in love with their products and designs, not really considering them from the customer perspective.

The value proposition usually evolves during the design and pilot process, but only if it is allowed to.

Sensibly, there is a second stage gate process, one that is parallel to the product development, the value development process which critically translates the product features into customer value as they evolve.

A test of the success of the value development process is the depth of the debate about price. A successful VDP will preclude almost any debate, and certainly the most often used determinants of prices, being cost and competitor activity, will be relegated to the bottom of the pile of considerations.