Product innovation is a cultural phenomenon. According to P&G's A.G. Laffley, companies must make the "consumer the boss." Laffley explained,

The people who buy and use P&G products are valued not just for their money, but as a rich source of information and direction. If we can develop better ways of learning from them—by listening to them, observing them in their daily lives, and even living with them—then our mission is more likely to succeed. "The consumer is boss" became far more than a slogan to us. It was a clear, simple, and inclusive cultural priority.

When innovation becomes a cultural priority, it is easier to follow McKinsey & Co.'s Kenichi Ohmae's advice: "First comes the willingness to rethink, fundamentally, what products are & what they do." Deep customer insight will help you envision how your product solves customers' problems. A collaborative end-to-end NPD process will then help you translate great ideas into profitable new products. By making innovation a cultural priority, an entrepreneurial edge emerges, driving a virtuous cycle of satisfaction—and success. New products become the lifeblood of your company.