By: LA New Product Development Team based in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Product development requires the use of the best practices available to have success in extremely competitive markets most companies currently operate in. It becomes exponentially more difficult every year to come up with creative ideas and commercialize them. At the same time, the lifecycles of the products become shorter and shorter forcing companies to release new products faster. Historically expensive activity, product development, to be effective has to be lean and economical these days. Overall, product innovation becomes a growing strategic challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This article describes just a few ways to get the most of your product development efforts. LA New Product Development Team applied the following practices while working with inventors, startups, and established business designing and executing their product development strategies.
Is your product idea worth developing?
An idea is just a starting place. Before investing resources into developing a product idea, it is critical to evaluate the
potential for success.
Product developers should focus on the purpose and heart of the concept- the who, what, why, and how. Who is the customer? What are the key value propositions of the new product? Why should a company put this product on the market? How will it benefit the business in the long run? Asking these key questions allows devising a well formulated concept. Ideas typically begin one way and end another. Development teams should be flexible, and open to any change of direction, as it can lead to magnificent things!
The development team should consider collecting some outside perspective. Talking to potential customers and consumers (could be different groups) allows you to gauge the interest and gain a new perspective to refine the idea into one worth pursuing. Reviewing the competition is needed to ensure that the idea is, in fact, a unique one. If similar products and ideas exist on the market, the team needs to determine how it can take the new product to
the next level.
How will the company be able to protect their innovation? In other words, the development team needs to define an intellectual property strategy. The typical options include patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. A patent could add significant value to one’s business and create barriers to competition, so it’s worth evaluating whether the invention is patentable.
Define your commercialization strategy.
A critical decision when embarking on the invention development process is whether it should be commercialized through the developer’s business or by licensing the intellectual property to a different company. Developing and marketing a product requires significant resources, a great commitment, and tolerance for risk but comes with a promise of greater rewards. Licensing an invention minimizes the risk and the financial return. This decision requires three primary considerations: What are the goals? Does the company have all the resources needed? What is the tolerance for risk and expectation for rewards? Learn more about licensing vs. going into a business.
Design a plan for your product development efforts.
From ideation to fulfillment, every invention or a viable idea requires a thorough product design and development strategy to carry the concept to fruition. A product development plan (PDP) is of utmost importance to the future success. It guides organizations through the product design and development process.
Product developers and project managers tend to underestimate the timeline necessary to properly undergo product design and development, leading to unnecessary expenses of time and money. Developing a successful invention is an extensive and iterative multi-step process that requires guidance and organization. Without a master plan, it is nearly impossible to understand the full requirements of your project, including how to properly perform market research and complete a production timeline. A comprehensive development plan can also keep a development team on track and committed to the vision. The team will operate within a specified budget and time frame. Should the project require outside investments, a product development plan will serve as a useful tool conveying to prospective investors the product’s market potential and the business opportunity the venture presents. Learn more about product development plan.
Build platforms, not single products.
Too often companies are interested in developing a single product having a ͞hit and run͟ strategy in mind. This may work out for a short period, but it is not enough to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for a company. Instead, company management should think strategically, focus on long-term success, consistent execution, and market leadership. Building product platforms as opposed to products provides many benefits, including competitive advantage, increased brand influence and customer loyalty, reduced production costs, the foundation for further development and innovation, opportunities for market domination and open innovation, and many