General Session #1

How to Succeed in R&D and Business: Lessons Along the Journey

Thursday, November 16, 10:10 - 11:00 AM

Speaker(s): Pete Rudak

This presentation will provide guidance, tips and recommendations for delivering great new products into the market - from up-front innovation, to commercialization, launch and business success. The primary focus is on leadership and management techniques, the primary reason why initiatives either succeed or fail!

Discussion will focus on innovation and commercialization concepts that represent “real-world” experiences. The journey begins with Customer Focused Innovation. Attendees will gain a high-level overview of the process, including how to develop customer empathy, gain key insights via direct observation and interaction with customers, identify unmet needs, engage all functional areas of the organization in ideation, prototype proposed concepts/solutions, and verify the solutions with customers.

The next part of the journey goes into commercialization, specifically highlighting some of the best practices that drive commercialization and engineering excellence. Based on experience and insight from direct involvement with many commercialization teams, these best practices will be presented and discussed:

• Choosing the Right Development Approach—Agile, Waterfall (Phases & Gates) or Hybrid?

• When does saying “I don’t know” make you smart?

• Applying “Optimistic Pessimism”

• No silver bullets: managing and balancing complexity

• Contingency, not slack

• Keep the end in mind, and then Re-Plan, Re-Plan, Re-Plan to achieve your committed goals

• No “analysis paralysis”—keep the train moving

• Rewarding bad news

This session will offer high-level considerations and “tips” for effective product launch, as well as observations regarding sustained business success - “Pete’s definition of success.” This presentation is appropriate for anyone in a leadership or support role on an R&D or Product Development team. The key take-away is that leadership and engagement of the team are the primary reasons why projects succeed or fail. Choosing a winning product concept, surrounding yourself with the right people, listening to them, and leading and inspiring them by your example leads to success. The team flourishes, problems are solved and great products get delivered!

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