The Customer Holds the Key to Great Products

Many new products fail – far too many. Failures occur regularly in both the manufacturing and service sectors. By failure we mean that these new products both fail to excite customers and fail to reach the sales and market-share goals set by the companies that develop them.

In the 1980s and 1990s, major advances in new product development (NPD) were achieved through the use of StageGate processes. Such processes define the tasks of each of the functions involved in NPD (e.g. R&D, marketing and operations) at each of the stages, from product concept to market introduction. However, as more companies have adopted formal processes for NPD, the competitive advantage that can be achieved by process excellence alone has eroded. Put another way, just because your organisation is good at implementation does not mean that it will bring the best new products to market. Creativity is also required to identify customers’ problems and to develop breakthrough features to address them.

In this article we will discuss an approach to dealing with market uncertainty. This applies new techniques for market research and uses a model to ensure than new products excite the customer.

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