Product Innovation Charter (PIC)

Where Innovation meets Strategy - Product Innovation Charter (PIC)

Having a "Product Innovation Charter" (PIC) is the equivalent of having a mission statement for innovation. And it is this mission statement that provides useful guidance to the new product team. Although there maybe creative concerns that PICs restrict creativity we must ultimately remember any innovation (product or service) must reach the market; and ultimately attract repeat buyers who are satisfied enough to give your organization a sustainable margin and lifetime customer value.

"Firms with a strong product definition have about an 85% chance of success and average 37% market share, whilst those with a weak product definition show a 26% chance of success and market share of about 23%." Cooper, Robert, Winning New Products: Accelerating the Process from Idea to Launch 2nd ed.

Whilst this sounds commercial and not very innovative it's necessary to have expectations and guidelines for all innovation projects established early. These PIC expectations and guidelines should form a subset of the larger mission of the organization. Consequently, the PIC and organizational mission statement should be aiming to reach the same type of overarching organisational goals; with the PIC doing so in the domain of innovation.

As a community of product development practitioners, academics, and service providers representing the most innovative and recognised companies, the Product Development Management Association (PDMA) are knowledge leaders around new product process, strategy innovation, market research, tools & metrics, organizational issues and portfolio management.It is the (PDMA) that defines a PIC as:

"Product Innovation Charter (PIC): A critical strategic document, the Product Innovation Charter (PIC) is the heart of any organized effort to commercialize a new product. It contains the reasons the project has been started, the goals, objectives, guidelines, and boundaries of the project. It is the "who, what, where, when, and why" of the product development project. In the Discovery phase, the charter may contain assumptions about market preferences, customer needs, and sales and profit potential. As the project enters the Development phase, these assumptions are challenged through prototype development and in-market testing. While business needs and market conditions can and will change as the project progresses, one must resist the strong tendency for projects to wander off as the development work takes place. The PIC must be constantly referenced during the Development phase to make sure it is still valid, that the project is still within the defined arena, and that the opportunity envisioned in the Discovery phase still exists." (from the PDMA Glossary)

Like any process, consideration must be given around a PIC's application to implement. It is more relaxed in the earlier, creative and low cost parts of the innovation stages as idea generation, concept development and concept testing; it is only at the big money development, prototype, manufacturing marketing and launch that the PIC is used to stay on track.

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