By Robert F. Brands
Every entrepreneur knows that productivity is one of the key ingredients for successful product development. One of the two key processes in Robert’s Rules of Innovation is the NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS. A formalized, NPD process – also referred to and best practice: the Stage Gate® Process – is a must, from simple to sophisticated.
The New Product Development process is often referred to as The Stage-Gate innovation process, developed by Dr. Robert G. Cooper as a result of comprehensive research on reasons why products succeed and why they fail.
When teams collaborate in developing new innovations, having the following eight ingredients mixed into your team’s new product developmental repertoire will ensure that it’s overall marketability will happen relatively quick, and accurately – making everyone productive across the board.
Step 1: Generating
Utilizing basic internal and external SWOT analyses, as well as current marketing trends, one can distance themselves from the competition by generating ideologies which take affordability, ROI, and widespread distribution costs into account.
Lean, mean and scalable are the key points to keep in mind. During the NPD process, keep the system nimble and use flexible discretion over which activities are executed. You may want to develop multiple versions of your road map scaled to suit different types and risk levels of projects.
Step 2: Screening The Idea
Wichita, possessing more aviation industry than most other states, is seeing many new innovations stop with Step 2 – screening. Do you go/no go? Set specific criteria for ideas that should be continued or dropped. Stick to the agreed upon criteria so poor projects can be sent back to the idea-hopper early on.
Because product development costs are being cut in areas like Wichita, “prescreening product ideas,” means taking your Top 3 competitors’ new innovations into account, how much market share they’re chomping up, what benefits end consumers could expect etc. An interesting industry fact: Aviation industrialists will often compare growth with metals markets; therefore, when Boeing is idle, never assume that all airplanes are grounded, per se.
Step 3: Testing The Concept
As Gaurav Akrani has said, “Concept testing is done after idea screening.” And it is important to note, it is different from test marketing.
Aside from patent research, design due diligence, and other legalities involved with new product development; knowing where the marketing messages will work best is often the biggest part of testing the concept. Does the consumer understand, need, or want the product or service?
Step 4: Business Analytics
During the New Product Development process, build a system of metrics to monitor progress. Include input metrics, such as average time in each stage, as well as output metrics that measure the value of launched products, percentage of new product sales and other figures that provide valuable feedback. It is important for an organization to be in agreement for these criteria and metrics.
Even if an idea doesn’t turn into product, keep it in the hopper because it can prove to be a valuable asset for future products and a basis for learning and growth.