welcomes as our guest today Prof. Gary Lynn. Dr. Lynn is Chairman of an international consulting company and a tenured professor at the Stevens Institute. He started, built and sold three companies and was formerly Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Managing Director of Spencer Trask, a New York based venture capital company that placed $1.2 billion in over 100 technology businesses during the past decade.

He was selected by Business 2.0 Magazine as one of the nine leading management gurus in the country; prior guru selections include Peter Drucker and W. E. Deming. He was also named twice (2003 and 2008), as one of the seven most prolific thought leaders in the field of Technology-Innovation Management by the International Association for the Management of Technology (IAMOT).

Dr. Lynn has authored or co-authored five books and over 60 refereed publications at the intersection of technology, marketing, entrepreneurship and new product development. He has earned a Bachelor of Mechanical engineering degree from Vanderbilt University, a Master of Management from the Kellogg School at Northwestern, and a Ph. D. in marketing and new product development from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was invited by the King of Malaysia to give a keynote on the innovation process that he created to help Malaysians improve their ability to innovate.

Norm: Good day Dr. Lynn and thanks for participating in our interview.

Why have you become interested in marketing and new product development?

Dr. Lynn:

When I was 20, I received a patent for a new hospital gurney. A large medical equipment company licensed that product from me.

Norm: How did you decide you were ready to write Blockbusters: The Five Keys to Developing Great New Products? 


My co-author, Professor Richard Reilly and myself decided to write the book after 10 years of researching how some of the best companies (including Apple, AT&T, Cisco, Exxon, IBM and many others) launch new products. We determined that there are five practices that help a company launch a blockbuster product or service. Our work with these companies, has shown that if you ignore our metrics and approach, your chances of launching a blockbuster new product or service is only 2%; however, if you follow our approach and excel at it, your chances of launching a blockbuster increases to 72% and the probability of having a successful new product or service increases to 98%.

Norm: How did you come up with the book's title? 

Dr. Lynn: The publisher, HarperBusiness selected the title.

Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing the book and how  did you overcome the challenges?

Dr.Lynn:We were academics doing very rigourous research. We publish articles in the leading academic journals. These articles could put you to sleep. Our challenge in writing a book was to make it interesting enough for the average person or corporate America to read, enjoy and act.

Norm: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Dr. Lynn: We learned that launching a blockbuster is no accident. It takes attention to the five practices that we outline in our book and that we’ve shown in our research. A company cannot ignore any of these -- they have to perform all five practices.  If they perform four out of the five or three out of the five their chances in launching a blockbuster new product or service decreases dramatically.

Norm: Whom do you believe will benefit from your book and why?

 Dr. Lynn: our target in writing the book was for corporate America -- to help corporations regain their competitive advantage.  Within a corporation, the people who would benefit most would be senior leaders including lead engineers, senior marketers and people involved in strategic and business development.

 Norm: What kind of research did you do to write this book?

 Dr. Lynn: In completing this research we interviewed over 1,000 new product and service teams from companies all over the world. We have hundreds of hours of interviews on tape that we also analyzed in coming up with our conclusions in addition to a very sophisticated statistical modeling that we completed on over 250 variables to derive and validate our conclusions.

 Norm: Do you feel that most business owners don’t use their  imagination when it comes to marketing?

Dr. Lynn: I think many companies do a good job when it comes to both marketing and innovation but I don’t think they do a great job I think the reason is is because they tend to do a few things well but they don’t know the five critical areas that they need to focus their attention on.

Norm: What is the difference between branding and marketing?

 Dr. Lynn: branding helps position a product marketing helps grease the slide for sales

 Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?

 Dr. Lynn: They can go to

 Norm: Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to  share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!)

 Dr. Lynn: the new research we are working on now is called Lean Innovation -- how companies can launch a new product or service in half the time at half the cost. This is a follow on from our prior research.  We are very excited about it.

Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors

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