Summary Product innovation processes

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Summary - Product innovation processes

  • 2.1 Strategic planning for product innovation

  • Product innovation strategy:
    Provide direction for filling the funnel:
    • Gap in product portfolio?
    • Focus on specific technology, market, trend?
    • Develop new product platform?
    • Develop new product for existing platform? 
  • Portfolio planning:
    Strategy for the mix of projects in the funnel:
    • Short-term versus long-term projects
    • High-risk versus low-risk projects
    • Market or technology familiarity
    • Ease of development
    • Geographical markets 
  • Planning for product innovation is done in the fuzzy front end (FFE)
  • Product platform planning:
    • Technological platforms (shared components)
    • Category platforms (shared design or technology)
    • Brand platforms (shared brand values)
  • Platform:
    Common basis in terms of e.g., design, development or production process, shared among individual products in a product family
  • The product innovation charter
    Agreeing on focus, goals, and guidelines
  • Of what does the PIC consist
    • To chart the new product teams' direction (what technologies, what markets)
    • To set the teams' goals and objectives (why does the project exist?)
    • To tell the teams how they will play the game (what are the constraints? other key information)
  • A guiding innovation strategy & project planning are key success factors of managing the Fuzzy Front End!
  • 2.2 Opportunity & Problem Identification

  • Where do opportunities come from from?
    • Emerging trends or new legislations
    • New technologies or markets
    • Possibilities for product or process improvements
    • Threats by competition or a technology shift
    • New, changing, or unmet customer needs
    • New solutions for a (customer / process) problem
  • Three basic types of opportunities:
    • Need (why?)
    • Form (What?)
    • Technology (How?)
  • Importance of customer analysis:
    ‘The most successful new products match a set of fully understood consumer problems with a cost competitive solution to these problems.’
  • Why customers buy a product:
    • Features (What the product consists of)
    • Functions (What the product does and how it works)
    • Benefits (How the product provides satisfaction to the user)  

    These match with customers' problems, needs, wants, motivation, values and usage context
  • What do we get from customer analysis?
    For opportunity or problem identification & analysis:
     Identifying problems and needs (What?)
     Understanding motivations, values and root causes (Why?)
     Understanding the problem / usage context (When and Where?)
     Understanding the user characteristics (Who?)  
    red= constraint, blue= problem/opportunity
  • High-level vs. low-level problems
    • Leaf problems = consequences (lowest level)
    • Central or core problem
    • Root problem = causes (highest level)  
  • 2.3 Customer Analysis Methods

  • Questionnaire survey:
    Standardized questions regarding a certain topic
    • Quickly reaching large groups of customers
    • Statistical ‘evidence’, numbers, graphs

    • Not in-depth, no 'probing' possible

  • Complaint analysis:
    • Most common source of needs and problems
    • Findings from customer or technical service departments
    • Sales reports and re-seller information

    • Problems with existing products & unmet needs (what?)
    • Fast & low effort

    • Often no in-depth information (why?, When?, Where?)
  • Focus groups
    • Groups of 4-8 selected consumers
    • Trained facilitator stimulates and guides informal discussion

     In-depth information / delicate information 
     Probing possible (why, when, where?)

     Careful planning required (e.g., questions, stimuli) 
     Time consuming & costs
  • One-on-one interviews:
    • Questioning individuals about product use and problems
    • Phone, lab, on the street

     Easy in-depth questioning (why?, when?, where?) 
     Can be informal & inexpensive, 

     but also very expensive & time consuming
  • Observational studies/etnography
    • using products/conducting activities (in normal environment)\

     Understanding of context (when?, where?) 
     Identify problems or unmet needs that customers did not realize

     Often expensive & time consuming
  • Role playing:
    • Act as the consumer
    • Experiencing problems/needs

     Unrecognized problems or needs 
     Mainly tacit (‘sticky’) knowledge

     Can be expensive 
     Difficult to be completely ‘realistic’
  • Segmentation/personas:
    • Using benefit or joint space maps
    • Creating typical users ('personas') = who?

     Useful for analysis of insights on what, why, where & when
  • For the 'why?' question we use:
    • Interview
    • Focus group
    • Segmentation
    • personas (creating typical consumers)
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