In a recent survey of 550 manufacturers, researchers found that the most successful product innovators involved their marketing staff in development and their engineering staff in marketing. The survey also looked at sources of new-product ideas. No one source dominated, but engineers and marketers seemed to contribute more than senior management did.

What is the most frequent source of your company's new-product ideas? (a weighted average on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 meaning "very often")

Design and engineering 3.25

Sales and marketing 3.20

Customer requests 3.18

Technological advances 3.00

Senior management 2.45

Market research 2.25

Manufacturing 1.75

Source: A best-in-class study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, the Management Roundtable, and Product Development Consulting, Cambridge, Mass., 1994.

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