Friday, June 13, 2014

The Product Innovation Charter - Your Stairway to Heaven

Ok…the Product Innovation Charter (PIC) may not be the stairway to heaven, but it definitely leads to success. How can you know where you’re going if you don’t have a map to get there? That’s what the PIC is all about. According to a 2007 PDMA study, 29% of the firms interviewed had a formal PIC and 75% of the firms had some type of new product policy. This directly impacts the success of developing a new product. Let me throw two numbers at you: 50% and 21%. On average, 50% of new products in companies that have a defined new product development process will succeed, while only 21% of those without a defined process will succeed.

Needless to say, using a PIC to guide the development of new product strategy is a worthwhile investment. You may ask, “What does that have to do with me, a marketing professional? It’s simple – at some point, you may be asked to work on a product development or launch team. It’s critical to understand the purpose of the product and the associated marketing elements as well as how they all fit into the business’s strategy. This document will assist you in assessing, among other things, objectives, markets, and goals as well as developing pertinent product-specific success metrics and marketing strategy.

So what is a Product Innovation Charter? A typical PIC is a written document developed by senior management to chart the company’s new product strategy and guide the product team. It usually consists of four sections: background, arena, goals and objectives and special guidelines.


  • Validate the strategy and purpose of the project as it is aligned with the strategy.
  • Elevator speech that answers “Why are we doing this project?”
  • Guides the link of the project with the corporate strategy and goals of the business unit.
  • Clarifies the role of the team in developing project/service.
  • The logic of why the project is being pursued is outlined.


  • Addresses “Where the game is played” and the technology.
  • Defines at least one clear technology dimension.
    • Core competencies
    • Existing technologies
  • Defines at least one clear market dimension.
    • Customer segment
    • Customer benefit
    • Distribution channel
  • Defines competencies and competition.

Goals and Objectives

These should be operational, tactical and measurable.
  • Long and short term
  • Accomplishments
  • Metrics
    • Profit
    • Growth
    • Market share

Special Guidelines

  • Rules of the road
  • Management requirements
  • Legal/regulatory requirements
Don't skip the PIC! Make sure there's one in place and that you understand it. Your chances of succeeding with your next new product development project will increase substantially.


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