Recognising opportunities and generating ideas

It is more useful to view the new product development process as a series of linked activities. The process is also fluid and iterations are often needed. Key activities within the process are: initial screening, preliminary market assessment, preliminary technical assessment, detailed market study, financial analysis, product development, product testing (in-house), product testing (with customers), test marketing, trial production, full-scale production and product launch (Robert Cooper, 2008). Activities performed depends on industry.

The early activities are defined as the “assembly of knowledge” and “the generation of business opportunities”. They are defined as product concept development and development of product prototypes (physical form). The final activities are market and technical testing and market introduction.

Assembling knowledge

Creativity and ideas for new products will flow from an organisation’s knowledge base. Without the continual accumulation of knowledge, an organisation will be hindered in its ability to create new product ideas.

The generation of business opportunities

This stage is also referred to as opportunity identification (IO). It is the process of collecting possible business opportunities that could, realistically, be developed by the business into successful products. New product ideas can emerge from many sources, such as existing products, unexploited patents, lead users, suppliers etc.

Sources of business opportunity:

  • Competitor’s products and reverse engineering
  • Technology
  • Unexploited patents
  • Customers and vendors
  • Senior and top management
  • Brainstorming and synectics
  • Individuals
  • Existing products

Adapted from

Trott, P., 2008. Innovation management and new product development. Pearson education.

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