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Lean1Improving Product Development competencies in designers and developers is a concern for senior leaders in the manufacturing sector.

The approach most organizations take in developing Human Resources does not go beyond staffing the cream of the crop from leading global educational institutes.  Talent Development to them is, typically, sending their people to attend workshops and keeping up with employee annual training hours’ goals, and that’s it.  Companies usually spend more on acquiring latest manufacturing equipment or modern collaboration tools than they do to develop their greatest asset—their people.

Research on manufacturing practices unequivocally suggests that it’s primarily the inspiration to adopt a culture of Continuous Improvement in people that results in operational excellence.  This Continuous Improvement Culture has more significance than implementing Lean practices across all processes.

The “Lean Product Development” concept isn’t a new notion.  The practice has been around since the 1980s.  An MIT study in the 1980s revealed that manufacturing practices in Japanese automakers were totally opposed to those of auto manufacturers in the rest of the world.  These approaches were referred to as “Lean” practices.  Research into manufacturing practices of Toyota has spread the knowledge about Lean Product Development globally.

Lean concept is strikingly opposing to the philosophy that emphasizes on delegating the responsibility of developing the designers’ / developers’ capabilities to the Human Resources Department.  In order to develop and deliver superior products, Lean Product Development focuses on enabling the developers build “personal dexterity” as the key element of success.  The concept necessitates technical training and collaboration between developers.

Before embarking on the Lean Product Development and Innovation journey, organizational leadership should work on finding answers to these 3 fundamental questions:

  1. In order to design better products, which critical insights do we need to develop regarding customers, products, and processes?
  2. Which mediums, organizational knowledge, and tools are required to develop these insights?
  3. Which organizational structures and ways of doing businesses are ideally suited to develop these valuable insights and improving the expertise of developers?

Pondering over these critical questions and answering them facilitates in creating a pool of skilled Product Designers and developers.

Let’s dive deeper into these questions.

Question 1

Lean Product Development emphasizes on developing a steady stream of products at an even pace—referred to as “Takt.”   iPhone 1 and iPhone 2 are examples of a steady stream of products released at regular intervals in Apple’s iPhone value stream.

Takt has evolved the way products are designed.  An initial product is developed as a means to validate an idea.  Products are progressed from the initial product based on stakeholders’ feedback.  The purpose of a value stream of products is to improve the current product offerings, inspire the existing customers to upgrade, and tempt potential customers to try the product.  In these evolving value streams, every product release serves as an opportunity to gain insights into the market.

The value enhancement through Takt has 2 broad objectives:

  • Fixing problems in existing products and creating offerings meeting the customer needs.
  • Lowering manufacturing costs and improving quality.

Question 2 

Lean Product Development underscores the significance of the medium through which developers should learn in order to create superior products.  Developers’ capabilities in technical Problem Solving and learning what the others are doing helps enhance the quality of each new release.  Development teams should have quick access to accumulating a thorough knowledge of the entire supply chain and the effect of their decisions on manufacturing.  This assists in improving the efficiency of the developers.

Instead of learning and gaining knowledge through traditional ways, Lean Product Development encourages the developers to learn through Action Learning—the process where teams are continuously mentored and encouraged to learn collectively on the job, solve problems creatively, and test models to cope with real-life issues.

Interested in learning more about the key elements to consider before enabling Lean Product Development & Innovation, and the phases of the Lean process?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development & Innovation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Strategy without execution is hallucination! - Mike Roach

Without execution, strategy is merely theory.  Most frameworks, guides, and business gurus who discuss corporate strategy focus purely on the theory of great strategy, but don’t teach the art of great execution.
LearnPPT’s latest framework covers the topic of Strategy Execution and Organizational Effectiveness.
 A great strategy may put you on the competitive map, but only great execution can keep you there. Most organizations struggle with execution. They understand the strategy, but can’t translate that vision into the day-to-day changes to operations and actual implementation.
This document addresses the art and principles of business strategy execution. Topics include:
  • 4 Building Blocks of Strategy Execution
  • 17 Traits of Successful Strategy Execution
  • Transformation Program Design
  • Balanced Scorecard Overview
  • Blue Ocean Strategy (4 Organizational Hurdles)

The document will explain various frameworks related to business strategy execution and includes PowerPoint templates to be used for your own presentations and analysis.
* * * *
Here are several related documents available on Flevy:

Growth strategy is typically the crux of any organization’s business strategy. Achieving sustainable growth is a challenge faced by all companies, whether you’re just a startup or a gorilla.

There are several main barriers that inhibit continued growth. These include coming up with break-through innovations, execution challenges, and balancing growth at the expense of profitability.

In framing the growth challenge, there are typically 3 “horizons” a company must cross and overcome. The first is to extend and defend it core business. This is critical for near-term performance and, oftentimes, too much of a focus. Successfully growing through this horizon requires very strong operational managers and leadership. The second horizon is to build emerging businesses. The objective is to drive or invest in ventures that leverage or replicate the existing business model and capabilities. Successful navigation through this horizon requires entrepreneurial members and business builders. The final horizon focuses on creating viable options for future growth. This requires input from “visionaries” and unconventional thinkers.

LearnPPT has a comprehensive Growth Strategy toolkit, which discusses these growth challenge and presents several frameworks in addressing, creating, and managing sustainable business growth. You can find the document here:

This toolkit is 31 slides. It presents and compares the traditional approach to growth strategy, such as Porter’s Five Forces, to the newer age Blue Ocean Strategy methodology of creating an uncontested market. In addition, it lays out a framework for undertaking a growth strategy project initiative. (You can find a detailed description of the document at the bottom of this post.)

LearnPPT is a leading online resource for presentation materials. Its range of products range from PowerPoint templates to business strategy frameworks (like the one on pricing strategy). All documents were created for an by top management consulting firms. Since its founding in 2010, the LearnPPT documents have been used by customers in Fortune 500 companies, top MBA programs, and leading management consultancies across over 45 countries.


The Growth Strategy Strategy Toolkit is a 31-slide PowerPoint. It contains both instructional slides about growth strategy frameworks and editable templates. This document is divided into 4 sections:

  • Growth Challenge (6 slides)
  • Traditional Strategy Thinking (5 slides)
  • Modern Strategy Thinking (11 slides)
  • Growth Strategy Project (5 slides)

Growth Challenge
In this first section, we explain how all companies are faced with the challenge of achieving sustainable growth. Specific growth challenges and situations are identified and explained. We show how a successful company must navigate across 3 growth “horizons,” which involve both optimizing the existing core business and creating new ones. Specific barriers and paths to growth are enumerated.

Traditional Strategy Thinking
This section discusses the focus and thinking of traditional growth strategy frameworks, such as Porter’s Five Forces and the GE-McKinsey Matrix. There is a deep dive into Porter’s Five Forces, including template slide for presenting a Porter’s Five Forces analysis summary.

Modern Strategy Thinking
This third section is the largest section of the document. It includes a detailed comparison between Traditional Growth Strategy Thinking versus Modern Growth Strategy Thinking across the areas of industry, strategy, market, resources, among other components. The focus is on teaching the Blue Ocean Strategy framework, include the related topics of portfolio positioning, value identification, and value curves. Specific examples are provided, along with template slide for presenting a Value Curve analysis summary.

Growth Strategy Project
This final project teaches how to conduct an actual growth strategy project. A three-phase approach to strategy development is introduced. Specific work streams, activities, and deliverables are identified for each phase of the project. This is the same approach to conducting a growth strategy engagement used by many strategy consulting firms.

Pricing strategy is a critical component to any product marketing plan.  It drives not only product margins, but determines its overall profitability–as its a primary lever to product positioning.

Pricing strategy begins with a simple question–to skim or to penetrate the market?  Price skimming involves introducing the new product or service at a relatively high price point.  Then, with time, as competition increases, the pricing for the product is lowered.  Companies typically engage in this strategy when they’re first to the market and feel they have a substantial lead or enough barriers to entry against its competitors.

On the other hand, penetration pricing involves introducing a product or service at a low initial entry price point, often lower than competing products in the market.  The motivation behind this is to capture as much market share as possible.  Companies should only engage in this low-cost player strategy if they can sustain a lower cost structure relative to peers.  This lower cost structure can be derived to a specific advantage, be it a process, technology, resource, legal, geography, or other differentiator.

LearnPPT has created a very comprehensive toolkit on Pricing Strategy development.  You can find the product here:

The toolkit is 40-slide PowerPoint presentation that includes the topics of price skimming versus penetration pricing, pricing tactics, product adoption lifecycle, price curve analysis, and price sensitivity analysis.  Furthermore, the document includes an accompanying pricing sensitivity Excel financial model.  (You can find a  detailed description of the document at the bottom of this post.)

LearnPPT is a leading online resource for presentation materials.  Its range of products range from PowerPoint templates to business strategy frameworks (like the one on pricing strategy).  All documents were created for an by top management consulting firms.  Since its founding in 2010, the LearnPPT documents have been used by customers in Fortune 500 companies, top MBA programs, and leading management consultancies across over 45 countries.


The Pricing Strategy Toolkit includes both a 40-slide PowerPoint and a Price Sensitivity Excel Financial Model. The PowerPoint portion contains instructional slides around developing a solid pricing strategy, as well as documentation for the included financial model. It is divided into 5 sections:

  • Pricing Strategy (7 slides)
  • Pricing Approach (8 slides)
  • Price Sensitivity Analysis (10 slides)
  • Pricing Tactics and Terminology (11 slides)

Pricing Strategy
This first section presents a detailed discussion around the overarching pricing strategy of Price Skimming or Penetration Pricing. These two strategies are compared and put into the context of where your product sits along the Product Adoption Lifecycle. Advantages and disadvantages are enumerated for both Price Skimming strategy and Penetration Pricing strategy.

Pricing Approach
This section focuses on the quantitative approach to calculating your optimal price point, based on your selected pricing strategy. We walk through a three-phase approach to determining the appropriate price point: 1) data collection, 2) analysis and insights, and 3) pricing. Price curve analysis is introduced, along with several examples illustrating how price curve analysis is used.

Price Sensitivity Analysis
The focus of this section is price sensitivity modeling. We walk through a five-step process to deriving a formula for price sensitivity. This process addresses, defines, and teaches the following concepts: 9 drivers to price sensitivity, elasticity factors, and threshold of no elasticity. The 9 drivers to price sensitivity are as follows:

  • Reference Price Effect
  • Difficult Comparison Effect
  • Switching Costs Effect
  • Price-Quality Effect
  • Expenditure Effect
  • End-Benefit Effect
  • Shared-cost Effect
  • Fairness Effect
  • The Framing Effect

At the end of this section, we show how to create a financial model out of the derived formulas. This is the embedded Excel financial model. Documentation for the financial model is also included in this section.

Pricing Tactics and Terminology
This toolkit closes with overviews for a number of pricing tactics. These pricing tactics are as follows:

  • Value Pricing
  • Loss Leader Pricing
  • Psychological Pricing
  • Going Rate Pricing / Price Leadership
  • Tender Pricing
  • Price Discrimination
  • Predatory Pricing
  • Absorption Pricing
  • Marginal Cost Pricing
  • Cost-Plus Pricing

For each pricing tactic, there is a slide showcasing the tactic’s definition, examples, and list of related pricing tactics.


Here’s a great collection of PowerPoint diagrams, templates, and charts (over 20 in all) you can add to your arsenal.  It’s the 2011 Holiday Gift from LearnPPT.  Download it below for free.

Here’s a screenshot of what’s included:

And, if you haven’t yet, be sure to also download the Basic PowerPoint Toolkit.  This is another free download and includes 15+ slides of PowerPoint diagrams, shapes, templates, charts, tables, and icons.

For pre-made PowerPoint diagrams used in business presentations and other powerpointing needs, browse our library here: learnppt.com/powerpoint/.  These diagrams were professionally designed by management consultants. Give your presentations the look and feel of a final product made by McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Booz Allen, Deloitte, or any of the top consulting firms.


Through this Sunday, learnPPT is having a promo for the Cost Reduction Toolkit.  This detailed document identifies over 45+ cost cutting initiatives across the Value Chain.  For each initiative, examples are provided, along with projected potential savings.

The Cost Management opportunities are broken down into the areas of:

  • Enterprise-wide - These opportunities are cross-functional, meaning they can affect multiple functions within an organization.  The impact is largely to SG&A costs.
  • Asset Management - These opportunities target the improvement of fixed assets efficiency and decreasing net working capital.  The impact is largely capital efficiency.
  • Function-specific - Opportunities in this category are specific to primary and support functional activities.  These are operational and transactional in nature.

This toolkit also explains the levers and challenges to profitability, as well as the formula identifying cost reduction opportunities.

Here’s a partial preview of the PowerPoint presentation.

Questions, thoughts, concerns?  Go to my site (learnppt.com) and shoot me an email.

For pre-made PowerPoint diagrams used in business presentations and other powerpointing needs, browse our library here: learnppt.com/powerpoint/.  These diagrams were professionally designed by management consultants. Give your presentations the look and feel of a final product made by McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Booz Allen, Deloitte, or any of the top consulting firms.

The time and effort it takes to create a professional business presentation may not seem economical.  For instance, management consultants, paid $1000+ a day, spend a majority of their time cranking our PowerPoint presentations.  Though clients would rather have their consultants spend this time doing research and more analytical work, we all recognize the necessity of solid presentations to effectively communicate gained insights and recommendations.  The same issue holds true for managers, executives, and well paid analysts.

To help alleviate the economic resource burden of creating presentations, McKinsey established a Visual Graphics group for the sole purpose of cranking out presentations for its consulting arm.  McKinsey management consultants would draw out slides on paper, scan and send them to Visual Graphics.  Visual Graphics would then convert the scanned images into PowerPoint slides.

While you or your organization may not currently have a PowerPoint conversion team like McKinsey, now you can with LearnPPT’s new presentation services offering.  Check it out here:

Presentation Serviceshttp://learnppt.com/presentation-services.php

Draw and email your slides to LearnPPT and they will convert it to PowerPoint slide format within 1 business day.  They have a team of experienced PowerPoint presentation experts–in fact, hired directly from McKinsey’s Visual Graphic organization.

View their site to see samples and a break down other related presentation services.


I am excited to announce the 2nd version of Become a PowerPoint Guru was released this morning.  What started as just a PowerPoint eBook, ‘Become a PowerPoint Guru’ has grown to be much more than that, since it now includes 2 very useful PowerPoint documents: the Business Slides Reference Pack and the eBook PowerPoint Toolkit.

The book itself discusses the techniques developed and used by strategy consulting firms to create effective business presentations using PowerPoint.  Many of the diagramming techniques have been highlighted in tutorials on this blog.  But, beyond just diagramming, the book teaches storyboarding, i.e. the art of weaving a compelling story through the presentation.  Topics here include Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle, MECE, and others; many, of which, are taught in top MBA programs, including the likes of Harvard and Stanford.

The Business Slides Reference Pack (preview here) contains 60+ slides taken directly from executive presentations made by management consultants.  The original audience range from execs of medium sized businesses up to Fortune 50 companies and cover a variety of different types of slide content, PowerPoint diagrams usages, and powerpointing techniques.  You won’t be able to find any other download similar to this offered on any other site.

The eBook PowerPoint Toolkit (preview here) is a comprehensive collection of ready to use, customizable PowerPoint templates.  This was included in the original book, but with the 2nd edition’s release, this document has already been expanded to include additional PowerPoint diagrams.

As this entry’s subject boldly proclaims, this is the only business presentation book you will ever need.  The book’s content arms you with the knowledge and the accompanying PowerPoint decks arm you with additional tools to supplement that knowledge.  Check it out @ http://learnppt.com.

Strategy in business is about winning and so, any successful business needs to have a well defined, executable strategy.  Unsurprisingly, from both sales trends and customer feedback, at learnppt.com, we have found ourselves adding more and more products around this topic of business strategy.

This weekend, I took the time to compile all of our toolkits and frameworks related to business and strategy.  Browse it here:
Business Strategy

Some of the topics discussed you will find include Growth Strategy, Marketing Strategy, and Management Strategy.

Our most recent PowerPoint in this domain teaches you how organizations can inject Creative Thinking into their Strategy Development processes:
Creative Thinking in Strategy Development
This document discusses the 3 enablers to creativity in strategy formulation:

  • Ensuring the right “conditions” are in place
  • Pushing the limits of conventional thinking
  • Leveraging the power of collaborative thinking

Got a request in PowerPoint product of blog post topic?  Leave a comment or shoot me an email.


Whether this is your first time stumbling across here or you’re a long time subscriber, thank you for reading my blog!  Via comment or email, I always appreciate any feedback you have on what I post.  I want to make sure any articles I post are relevant to my readers’ interests and that you find it both insightful and useful.

Since its launch (earlier this year), this blog has been the largest contributor of traffic referral to my PowerPoint products site, www.learnppt.com.  I’ve received more hits from this blog than from Google and from my numerous Adword campaigns.

As a token of my appreciation, here is an exclusive coupon for 25% off at learnppt.com.  The coupon applies to both the eBook and all the PowerPoint products (e.g. diagram packs, business frameworks, icon packs).

Coupon Linkhttp://learnppt.com/powerpoint/?promo=pptblog112010

BTW, there is a limited number of times this coupon code can be used before all the coupons are used up.  At that time, I will try to update this post with a notification that this promotion has ended.