In large organisations this can be a very formal activity involving strategic planners and senior managers with responsibility for setting that future directions in the business. In smaller organisations this activity may be undertaken by the owner of the business in an informal, even ad hoc way. For many businesses it is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. The effects of any corporate planning may be important and long term. For example, the decision by a sports footwear manufacturer to exit the tennis market and concentrate on the basket due to changing social trends will have a significant impact on the business.
Decisions by market planners may have equally significant effects. For example, the realisation that a competitor is about to launch an improved tennis shoe that offers additional benefits may force the business to establish five new product development projects. Two of these projects may be established to investigate the use of new materials for the sole, one could be used to develop a series of new designs, one could look at alternative fastenings and one could be used to reduce production costs.
In most science- and technology-intensive industries, such as the pharmaceutical and computer software industries, this activity is probably more significant than ongoing market planning. Technology awareness is very high. The continual analysis of internal R&D projects and external technology trawling will lead to numerous technical opportunities that need to be considered by the business. Say that a recent review of the patent literature has identified a patent application by one of the company’s main competitors. This forces the business to establish a new project to investigate the area to ensure it is aware of any future developments that may affect its position.
Trott, P., 2008. Innovation management and new product development. Pearson education.