Innovative product development is the process of bringing a new product to the marketplace. Your business may need to engage in this process due to changes in consumer preferences, increasing competition or advances in technology or to capitalise on a brand new opportunity during product development. Innovative businesses thrive by understanding what their market wants. Making smart product improvements, and developing new products that meet and exceed their customers’ expectations and needs.
‘Innovative product development’ can be anything from products that your business has never made or sold before but have been taken to market by others to product innovations created and brought to the market for the first time. They may be completely original products, or existing products that you have modified and improved. New businesses, sole traders or even freelancers can forge a place in the market by researching, developing and introducing new or even one-off products.
There are several important steps you will need to plan into your NPD strategy and include:
Defining your product:
An accurate description of the product you are planning will help keep you and your team focused and avoid pitfalls such as developing too many products at once, or outsourcing your innovative idea to the wrong people.
Identify market needs:
Product development can be tricky and for a new product to market, it requires thorough knowledge of your target market and its needs and wants. A targeted, strategic plan and purposeful approach to your new market will ensure your products fit your market.
To ensure this happens, ask yourself about your product development:
What is the target market for the product I am proposing?
What does that market need from my product development?
What is the benefit of my proposed new product?
You should also draw on your existing market research. You may need to undertake additional research to test your new product proposal with your customers. Surveys are a fantastic way to do this and can be inexpensive when done on your own. This will be very influential in the product development stages.
Establish your time frames:
You need to allow adequate time to develop and manufacture your new product. Your objectives for developing new products will inform your time frames and your deadlines for implementation. Your objective to race against your competition will require efficiency from you and your team. Your goal to be responsive to your customers’ needs and demands. It will require time for research to ensure you develop the right products at the right time.
Identify key issues and approaches:
There are many tasks involved in developing a product that is appropriate for your customers. The nature of your business and your idea will determine how many of these steps you need to take. Key tasks include:
- Generating and screening ideas.
- Developing and screening concepts.
- Testing concepts.
- Analysing market and business strategy.
- Developing and market testing products.
- Implementing and commercialising products.