Product Innovation Management Conference Day 1 Overview

Who comes to the Product Innovation Management Conference each year?

People ask me this all the time and the answer is the same for this conference as for any conference – all kinds of people.  This year we had attendees from undergrad students to post-doctoral research.  New practitioners to CEOs and of course a host of solutions providers and consultants.

I always like to ask them in return – who do you think comes or should come?  If you’re unsure if you should have come this year I thought I would provide a synopsis of the day.  All in all I found it to be:

·         A great networking event

·         A forum for the exchange of really good ideas both formally and informally

·         A nice break from the daily grind of corporate life

Before I head off to the evening keynote address from Cynthia Tripp Energizing Innovation Through Design Thinking and the welcome reception sponsored by PWC I thought I should capture my thoughts now. 🙂

There were a number of really good deep dive sessions on Day 1.  I popped into each of them to see what the vibe in the room was – here’s what I saw:

Capturing the Value of Co-Creation

Speakers:  Gaurav Bhalla, Knowledge Kinetics; Doug Billings, PwC; Jenny Danzi, PepsiCo; Mike Ferrara, Becton Dickinson; Francis Gouillart, Experience Co-Creation Partnership;  Aric Rindfleisch, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

This session was a good practitioner-centric view of how to leverage co-creation as a strategy and the tools associated with it.

Innovation Process and Techniques: From Start to Finish

Speakers: Robin Karol, NPDP, PhD., CEO, Innovation Guides, and Lee Goldring, Senior Manager, New Product Development, Jarden Consumer Solutions’ Global Appliances Group

For those that have accepted a culture of innovation, this session delivered best practices for managing an innovation function within your company.


Voice of the Customer: Stretching the Boundaries

Speakers: Gerry Katz, NPDP, Executive Vice President, Applied Marketing Science, Inc.

VoC is something every product team needs and Gerry once again delivered masterful guidance on how to capture, analyze and act on VoC.

Portfolio Management: Driving Innovation in Your Portfolio

Speakers: David Matheson, PhD, Co-founder, President and CEO, SmartOrg, Lecturer at Stanford University

This session has been a popular one each year and covers how to construct a diversified portfolio of projects/product offerings to deliver the most efficient performance.  A portfolio full of only safe incremental projects underperforms a portfolio with more risk almost every time.

Sustainability: Emerging Best Practices for Innovators and Corporations

Speakers: Paul Alvarez, NPDP, Principal, MetaVu, Inc., and Sue Burek, NPDP, Manager, Research and Partnerships, Ingersoll Rand

This session was new for this year and the flagship event for the new sustainable product development special interest group in PDMA.  The speakers delivered a lot of GREAT foundational content to define sustainability, what’s current and what’s coming in terms of trends and best practices.  I spent the most time in this session.

Business Model Innovation: Supercharging New Product Innovation

Speakers: Matt Benson, NPDP, Advanced Innovation Manager, Faurencia, and Robert Huber, VP Innovation, Faurecia

This session was also very well attended and valuable.  Turning the principle of innovation in on the business plan/model itself can yield great value for some companies who may struggle with identity or execution.  I learned a lot about how to approach this type of introspective analysis.


NPDP Certification Preparation Seminar

Facilitators: Ken Westray, NPDP, President, NP Learning LLC; David Newman, NPDP, Director – Software and Electronics, Equipment Engineering, The Coca-Cola Company

Ever since I committed to becoming a certified New Product Development Professional (NPDP) I have reaped the benefits of my effort.  Ken and David lead this certification overview session with the skill of two practitioner/consultants that have been doing it forever. 

If you chose not to attend this year, I highly encourage you to attend next year.  If you email me before close of business Wednesday, I will put your name on a list for a discount code for next year.  I don’t have the details but I can tell you it will be a significant discount if you sign up for next year now.

Learn more about my other activities in innovation at

Creative Commons License
Erniesan Blog by Ernie Harris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at