product development and Innovation Product development is the first step in the process of bringing a new product to the market. A product can be a physical product, or a service. A physical product can be a brand new invention or innovation (such as the pet rock) or a revision of an existing product line (a new kind or style of denim jeans).
A service, of course, can be a completely new, never before offered service (perhaps a coffee cup painting service?), or it can be an innovation of an existing product service (a better nanny service, for instance), or any permutation between the two. Product Development The product development process has several parts but can be divided into two main areas: the actual product engineering, and the market analysis. There are multiple steps to be taken to develop the new project.
Someone must provide the idea for the project, product, or service. Sometimes the ideas for new projects, products, or services come from the companys own clients, but sometimes they come from competitors, from an internal research and development team, from employees, from trade shows, from consumer focus groups, or even from families of employees. An example of a product development process that originated with a family member is that of Gerber baby food. Gerber originated from an idea conceived by Mrs. Dorothy Gerber, the wife of Daniel Gerber, who owned the Fremont Canning Company. Mrs. Gerber was tired of making baby food by hand, and urged her husband to develop a process that would relieve her of this onerous duty.
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Within a year, company introduced strained peas, prunes, carrots, spinach, and vegetable beef strained baby foods to the market. Aggressive marketing has brought Gerber to where it is today, but the idea was conceived by a tired wife! (Gerber 2006).
In the usual course of events (for instance, when one does not own a canning company), the casual idea (relieving the duties of baby food making) would go through a formal idea generation process. Various methodologies would be utilized to generate and conceptualize the formal ideas, including listing the attributes and pros and cons of the idea, brainstorming ideas relating to the original concept, conducting problem analysis, and developing prototypes. Many of these steps will take place at the same time, by different departments or organizations within the departments. Once the ideas have been developed, the teams address other issues.
Can the concept work? (Is it feasible to smash product into a paste for food for infants?) Will the market have a target? (Are there other women tired of making baby food, besides Mrs. Gerber?) Will the intended market benefit from the product? (Would women perceive baby food to be a benefit?) Can the idea be easily accomplished? (Can we change our canning process to accommodate the production of mashed foods? How easy or difficult would it be?) Would the product be profitable? (Would it cost more to mash the food than we will make selling it? Will people really buy this stuff?) Once the concept has been established, the marketing or research and development group takes over the process and works out the marketing and engineering research details. The target market is determined (for instance, mothers of young infants).
For every successful new product, many new product ideas are conceived and discarded. Therefore, companies usually generate a large number of ideas from which successful new products emerge. I work as a strategic manager in Solarland Co., Ltd. This company does business of electronic appliances. As a Strategic Manager, I have been directed by my BOD to introduce a new product in Bangladesh. I want ...
The benefits of the product are esablished (saves time, better for baby, convenient, cheaper than buying fresh foods, long shelf life).
The marketing or R&D department tries to get a sense of how the consumer or intended market will react to the product. (Will moms buy it, or will they feel it is an insult to their skills as a mother? Will moms buy it, or will they think it is too expensive and too trendy?) They will try to determine how the product will be made.
(Can we use an existing processing plant? Do we need to install new equipment? Will we need to invest in new real estate?) And how expensive will this whole process be? (What is it going to cost us? Will we make enough of a profit to make product production worth our while?) Finally, the R&D or marketing team will arrange to test the overall concept of the product. They may hire a consumer firm to query prospective customers, or they may do it themselves. Once they have analyzed the results of the studies, they will do a business analysis. In the analysis, they will develop an estimated selling price, try to determine what they volume of sales will be, and will estimate how profitable production of the product would be. A breakeven point will be determined. Once these preliminary marketing analsysis have been compelted, market testing (or, in the event of a service, Beta testing) will begin. A prototype is produced (a lmited run of baby food, or a test program of software).
The product will be tested in use. (The food will be fed to real babies in real homes, or the software will be used by a limited consumer group that has agreed to test it).
These usage tests determine which adjustments will be necessary to make the product successful. (Perhaps the baby food needs to be smoother, or maybe the software has a glitch that causes it to crash every time the keystrokes are typed. ) Once the product bugs have been determined and fixed, implementation begins. Technical requirements are established, determined and disseminated; production is scheduled, and market launch is arranged. Suppliers are lined up, and program review standards are established and implemented. The product is physically launced (normally to great fanfare) and a back-up plan is set up. Advertisements are printed and disseminated, the distribution pipeline kicks in, and the distribution process begins.
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In an appropriately designed product development and distributino process, a review analysis is set up so that the entire process can be continually reviewed and modified, if necessary. Product Innovation The process of product innovation leads to the development of a completely new product or process (Piana 2003).
In the paragraphs above, Gerber baby foods represented a complete product innovation. We have discussed how ideas can be integrated into the product development and distribution process, using Gerber as a prime example and software companies (such as Google) as a secondary example. Let us address the process product innovation from the standpoint of product innovation from a deliberate process. The process known as TRIZ, or Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, addresses ways that companies or individuals can develop innovative solutions to problems, including designing and marketing new products. TRIZ theory holds that there are two types of problems: those with known solutions, and those with unknown solutions. The TRIZ process provides a guideline for the developmental process involved in solving problems with unknown solutions.
Genrich Altschuller, the inventor of the SCUBA process, is generally credited with inventing the hierarchy for the process that became known as TRIZ. Altschullers hierarchy eventually came down to a series of set steps: forumulate the problem, figure out how to put the problem into a model, analyze the mode, resolve any problems, and come up with an ideal solution (Mazur 1995) . Analyzed in terms of the model discussed above, TRIZ fits right into the development of new products and revisions of existing products. Altschuller developed a series of tools useful in developing product innovation: the TRIZ process, field analysis, failure determination, product analysis, and quality determination. All of these tools can be used in developing innovative products for the future. In 1966, Yoji Akao developed a new procedure called Quality Function Deployment (QFD).
QFD is a method used to design quality products that satisfy the consumer and assure the quality of the design from the very beginning of the products production.
In this paper we look at how different innovation and adaptation initiatives by the corporations have translated into their growth and success and how interactive management control systems have influenced the same. We have identified 6 different levels or elements (from strategy to operation, internal and the external forces affecting the companies) at which an organization can introduce ...
The goals of QFD are to prioritize the customers needs and wants, interpret these needs and wants in terms of technical design, and to build and deliver products that meet these needs. QFD is an integral part of the TRIZ process and can be used to plan innovative new products, determine the product requirements and characteristics, and control the cost and mechanics of the manufacturing process. The QFD process dovetails with the production and planning process described earlier in this paper; many of the processes run concurrently in the development of innovative products. Bibliography Akao, Y., ed. (1990).
Quality Function Deployment, Productivity Press, Cambridge MA.
The Gerber History: the Beginning. Retrieved from the Gerber website 27 April 2006 from http://www.gerber.com/history Lynn, G., Marone, J. and Paulson, A. (1996) Marketing and discontinuous innovation, California Management Review, spring 1996, pp. 8-37. Mazur, G. (1995).
Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ).
Retrieved 27 Apr 2006 from http://www.mazur.net/triz/ Piana, V. (2003).
Innovation. Retrieved online 27 Apr 2006 from Ulrich, Karl T. and Eppinger, Steven D (2004).
Product Design and Development.
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