A quick look on my Facebook feed shows a big change in the works: the kids are heading back to school. While some of those kiddos are already behind their desks with newly sharpened pencils and fresh boxes of Crayola in hand, others are still scrabbling at the last bits of summer, making the most of their time away from the classroom. The start of a new school year is exciting for kids, but it would be smart for those in CPG to take advantage of this opportune time to get their learn on as well.

Here are two key things to remember for the coming year:

Learning never ends.

The new product process — and dare I say established product process — is a constant, ever-changing journey of learning. Use that to your advantage and establish a learning objective that is appropriate for your CPG “grade level.” In kindergarten, for example, you learned the ABCs. In first grade you learned your multiplication tables. Now translate that to where you are on your product journey–are you still learning the ABCs of CPG, or are you on to more complex lessons? Figure out where you are, and then decide what new skill or information you want to learn this year that will get you to the top of your CPG class.

Don’t skip a grade

While business may be booming and your product is a star student, don’t take that as an indication that you should skip a grade on your learning journey. Of course, there’s no set path for any product, and you may jump from first grade to fourth grade, and then back to second grade, before it’s off to eighth grade. The important part is to make sure you hit each grade at some point, as each point on your learning journey will teach you important insights that will come in handy down the road. (Think of it this way: I never fully appreciated the value of algebra while I was in school, yet as an adult, I use some of its solve-for-x formulas on the daily. I’m looking at you is-over-of = x-over-100.)

No matter where you are on your journey, the time is ripe to advance your skills and, in turn, advance your product. From idea to product to store shelf to consumers’ hands, there are always new thoughts and ideas to explore, and new things to learn.

School is in session, friends!

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