Innovative New Product Development Strategies – Get NPD right

by Maximilian Claessens
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Innovation is vital in the New Product development process, but the primary process stage is the Fuzzy Front End (FFE) Stage. This stage is the starting point of the NPD process, and here is where new ideas are generated before being implemented into the real development procedure. Innovative new product development strategies are essential in creating a cost-effective and efficient generation process.

In this post, we will explain how breakthrough innovation may be used as an NPD strategy in the Fuzzy Front End stage. We will also tackle how some of the leading companies have applied these steps to develop new products and be among the world-leading brands. Let’s take a look at some of the most innovative new product development strategies.

Innovative New Product Development Strategies

Crowdsourcing: The Lego Approach

The term crowdsourcing means outsourcing to the outside crowd. Crowdsourcing allows different businesses to target external and internal participants to share suggestions and ideas through promotions, competitions, questionnaires, and other techniques.

In NPD, you can apply this technique if you have a rough idea of the direction you are likely to take. Crowdsourcing is a fantastic method to expand your initial idea using different knowledge from the crowd you will engage. Launching campaigns and challenges to a particular group of individuals, whether internal or external, will make your idea sharable to a wealth of wisdom that can help in determining and shaping your product framework.

Lego Company is known to use their loyal customers in gathering new ideas on how they can improve their products.

The Lego brand will apply crowdsourcing to source new ideas. The brand has an ideal site where members can contribute new ideas per Lego’s Product Idea Guidelines. If the concept garners 10,000 or more votes from other members, they consider it for production. The voting occurs three times a year and is conducted by the Lego Review Board, made up of product managers, designers, and other leading members. The member who came up with the ideal will receive 1% of the total sales of the product.

By applying this technique, the company has come up with a consistent pool of ideas. They focus on collaboration and evaluation techniques from the target audience and the community members, which results in the production of ideal products for the current market. Approaching innovation by using this method, the companies have benefited from brand loyalty and excellent customer relations. Many have also saved on the resources and time that would have been used for research.

Incremental: The Apple Approach

This can be defined as making small changes or improvements to the existing company’s services and products. They start as a primary product, and from there, the company can provide a framework for adding extra features and developing new products.

One of the common examples of this technique in NPD is the Apple iPhone. The first iPhone was released in 2007. It has been improved gradually afterwards, while keeping the core product stable.

Of course, most smartphone companies apply this method for the usual upgrades, but Apple has been particularly successful in it due to its customer-centric approach. When the iPhone was released back then, the product had three core capabilities: Touch screen, Internet access, Phone capabilities. With every upgrade, these core capabilities were held constant, while adding new features based on client clients’ suggestions and employees’ ideas.

Breakthrough: The Dyson Process

Breakthrough innovation can also be termed as disruptive innovation. This is when you create a value network and new market and eventually use it to interrupt the existing value network and market, which may make previously market-leading alliances, firms, and products obsolete.

This NPD method is used quite infrequently since it requires the introduction of new products that the target market was not aware of and adapts to fast.

One of the examples of where this technique has been used is by James Dyson. The inspiration to create the new technology came from the air filter at his workplace. The air filter kept being clogged with dust, and he came up with an idea to create a cyclone tower to remove the dust particles. By using this method, he came up with the first Dyson Vacuum Cleaner prototype.

We have discussed a number of innovative new product development strategies. Of course, you need to select the right ones for your business and innovation stage. By combining the best NPD strategies, you will be able to stay innovative and win market share.

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