Competitive Intelligence Blog

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How to Track Innovation for Product Managers

Published: Feb 22, 2018

Product innovation is one of the most valuable applications for competitive intelligence (CI). Just like other business strategies, product development needs to be supported by timely, relevant market intelligence for ultimate success. If you don’t watch the market and rely only on internal knowledge – or the whims of executives – to drive innovation, then you won’t get anywhere fast. Instead, you will more than likely end up losing customers to known – and unknown – competitors who are paying attention.

It used to be enough to use basic news monitoring tools like Google Alerts to monitor competitor news and market changes, however, that is no longer the case. To keep up with the constant flow of new information online, successful product teams are using outsourced CI services to get the targeted intelligence they need to stay one step ahead of competitors. Outsourced solutions are especially popular these days because they are cost-effective and deliver only the most relevant insights for different stakeholders. Of course, this is just one of the ways innovative product teams track emerging disruptions and innovations. Based on our 10 years of work with successful product teams, we’ve compiled a shortlist of tips to help you successfully track innovation.

Develop Structured Intelligence Processes

For overworked product teams, the thought of spending more time to build out structured intelligence processes probably sounds like a nightmare. However, unstructured information streams generally create more work and frustration than innovation. It also doesn’t foster innovation to constantly be on your heels responding to market changes. Doesn’t it sound better to lead those changes? Instead of being reactive and trying to keep up with chaotic flows of information, you need to put structured processes in place to fuel proactive product innovation.

To get actionable tips on developing structured intelligence processes for your product team, download our free guide.

Close Collaboration Between Teams

There is a time and place for silos in the workplace, and that doesn’t include innovation tracking. The more you work together with other teams, the better it is for your innovation and CI strategy. There is nothing more inefficient – and frustrating – than duplicating efforts on basic, time-consuming tasks. Also, by collaborating with other teams like sales and marketing, you can gain access to key innovation insights without any extra work for your team.

A great way to facilitate this kind of intelligence sharing is to implement a research portal that can be accessed by decision makers from each team. You can either choose to build a proprietary system or find a cost-effective outsourced solution.

Save Time and Money by Investing in Outsourced CI Services

To effectively track innovation, successful product teams outsource the tasks that they don’t have time to do in-house. The key to finding the right outsourced service for your team depends on your team structure and organization. Most commonly, intelligence gathering activities are the most effective tasks to outsource or automate with MI tools because they save so much time for more valuable tasks like analysis and innovation strategies.

CI Radar is one outsourced service that successful product teams use to track innovation. With our custom innovation dashboards and daily briefings, we save product managers upwards of eight hours a week and provide invaluable insights into competitor activities and market disruptions. We also do all of this at a fraction of the price it would cost you to build this function in-house.

If you are interested in learning more about CI Radar’s innovation tracking solutions, request a demo today!