History of Planned Innovation®

The core concepts of Planned Innovation originated from a research program at the University of Michigan Institute of Science and Technology to identify major causes of new product failure in Michigan industry, and to devise methods to overcome those causes.

A principal hypothesis guiding this research was that access to new science and technology was a major causal factor that might be addressed more effectively. However, the broad conclusion of the research was that lack of in-depth understanding of total requirements was the major cause—especially understanding of unmet market needs and associated values to potential customers.

This finding led to the development of the initial Model of Total Requirements for Successful Innovation, published in 1973 by the University of Michigan in the first edition of Planned Innovation by authors Frank R. Bacon, Jr. and Thomas W. Butler, Jr. A second edition, which included many examples of successful applications, was published in 1981 and reprinted five times. It is still in print, available from the authors.

Using current "live projects" from industry, Drs. Bacon and Butler pioneered the teaching of Planned Innovation in multi-disciplinary graduate classes combining business and engineering students. They also organized and presented university-sponsored seminars for industry throughout the ensuing years, which led to the founding of the Planned Innovation group to provide direct assistance to firms throughout the U.S. and overseas.

Refinements in the Requirements Model, and development of detailed implementation procedures, have resulted from years of application in many firms and industries. Among those refinements was the delineation of the three basic components of the Planned Innovation process: Diagnostic Business Review, Product-Market Analysis and Opportunity Analysis.

Playing a lead role in the development of the Product-Market Analysis component was Dr. E. Jerome McCarthy, whose best-selling collegiate textbook, Basic Marketing, pioneered the managerial approach to marketing taught in most universities. This component brought stronger focus on determining the type and extent of changes needed in product-market strategies to strengthen existing business beyond the initial focus on new product innovation.

The book Achieving Planned Innovation explains the total process that has evolved over years of testing and refinement. Published in 1998 by The Free Press Division of Simon & Schuster, this book is available in bookstores and via the internet.

In 2007, the Planned Innovation Institute was formed to advocate, apply, and continue to refine the use of the Planned Innovation process.