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Role of New Product Development software in Innovation – Part 2

January 31, 2024

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New Product Development Software

This blog is part two of a two-part blog.

  • Part One: Dimensions of product innovation
  • Part Two: Role of new product development software in innovation.

Let us quickly recap the essential elements from Blog-Part 1.

  • Many products disappear from customers’ memory.
  • Customers are no longer buying products; instead, they are seeking ‘value.’
  • Value dimensions are unique to customers.
  • Generic product development goes through these life cycle stages.
  • There are eight essentials to product innovation.
  • There are ten drivers of innovation.

Let us now turn our focus to putting innovation to work.

Innovation starts with an idea to a problem, a pain point, an improvisation, or a radical view that challenges the status quo. Different businesses approach innovation differently.

Scenario # 1: Companies where innovation is not part of a strategy.

In most organizations, innovation is not part of an employee’s job profile. At the most, innovation is a “reaction” to a “crisis” or a “customer escalation.” In such organizations, innovation is need-based. Extending this further, these companies do not want to ‘innovate’, and wait for competitors to do this – then it is easy to copy! Maybe that is their strategy.

Scenario # 2: Companies where innovation is the exclusivity of an “innovation department/team.”

Specific teams have with the mandate of bringing in innovation. These ‘innovation teams’ go around the organization and try to observe opportunities for innovation. Generally, such teams face a lot of hostility from functional departments, who view them with a sense of suspicion and envy. Innovation in such organizations ends up being sporadic and, over time – dead!

Scenario # 3: Companies where innovation is linked to strategy and is part of employee goals.

Some companies have ‘innovation as their DNA.’ Every aspect of the product life cycle is viewed from an innovation mindset. It could be design, development, manufacturing, warehousing, packaging, branding, marketing, selling, delivery, customer service, and disposal!

In such situations, there would be numerous ideas vying with one another.

How do organizations deal with such a ‘problem of plenty’? The answer lies in their new product development processes that run on configurable NPD software / PLM software.

The question is – where does it start?

New product idea generation.

Depending on the industry, new ideas could range from simple to complex in terms of design and development, specifications, reference documents, etc. Many a time, new ideas come up because of collaboration between employees across business functions.

How do innovative companies support idea generation?

Innovative companies ensure that their employees have a platform where they can pool their ideas. Such a platform is generally a product development software system with a dedicated module for idea capture. Great NPD software allows you to configure idea generation tailored for your industry, organization processes, and above all, seamless collaboration. Else, innovation is not sustainable.

After idea generation, what next?

New product idea evaluation.

Not all product ideas may be feasible. Additionally, organizations have funding limitations on the ideas supported in a specific period (quarterly, half-yearly, yearly). They evaluate ideas based on parameters such as technical complexity, costs involved, product benefits, revenue & profit impact, competitor analysis, benchmarks, risks, and others. Imagine doing such an evaluation for every idea generated. It would be a hair-pulling experience without the support of product roadmap tools or new product development software. NPD software offers capabilities to evaluate and rank the most relevant ideas comprehensively.

TouchBase Financial Business Case

Next up is idea approval.

Every idea cannot be approved.

Ideas are approved based on the budgets available. Ideas may need multiple levels of approvals depending on the cost at stake. Managing idea approval on emails and spreadsheets is not an innovative way! Innovative companies ensure new product development tools offer configurable workflows and business processes based on the nature of ideas. Additionally, approved ideas along with their funding must be closely monitored and tracked to ensure value realization.

TouchBase Idea Funnel

It is now show-time, folks! The action now shifts to idea planning and implementation.

Product idea development and validation.

Depending on the product, the teams start to develop graphic designs, consumer testing plans, conduct tests, formulations & trials, packaging prototypes, manufacturing & sourcing plan. Additionally, the teams also work on the initial market and sales plan.

Product idea validation involves pilot-scale prototypes, concept/product/packaging testing, final formulations, finalizing packaging specifications, optimize sourcing plan, and, preparing product samples.

In parallel, teams would also need to focus on risk identification and define response strategies & plans.

When we look at the number of deliverables and their interdependencies, it would be a joke if someone says they manage them on Excel and Word-based documents.

Now that the idea is developed and validated, what next?

Product implementation and launch.

It is time for the rubber to meet the road! The teams get ready with manufacturing, marketing material, field sales get charged up, artworks are in place, supply chain runs smooth, and other implementation activities. An important dimension is that the senior management reviews the product business case to see if it still makes sense to push the product idea into full gear. It is a go-no-go decision and a crucial one!

If the decision is a ‘go,’ the teams get ready to launch the product across different customer segments and locations. Additionally, they conduct post-launch analysis to gain critical insights and necessary realignments. The finance teams and the senior management would now shift their focus on tracking revenue forecasts vs. actuals.

Source: www.mckinsey.com

Managing such a complex set of product management, project management, and financials would be unimaginable without product development software; this effort could be diverted to more productive business pursuits.

New Product Development software

Source: Capital IQ

Best-in-class NPD software allows you to manage the entire cycle of product innovation from new idea generation, idea evaluation, project management of product development & launch, integrating with financials, and culminating with documentation and analytics.

TouchBase Idea-to-Launch is designed to address the specific product development needs of your industry and your organizational standards and processes. With deep industry capabilities and the latest UI/UX and analytics, your product development efforts would get the necessary firepower to stay competitive.

Try TouchBase. You will be glad you did.

Srikanth PV

linkdin

Srikanth PV comes with two decades of global corporate and consulting background across industries with diverse roles including Strategy, Leadership, and Management. Currently, Srikanth is Head, PPM Content Management at ProductDossier focused on content management strategy aimed to empower customers create and enhance value through its flagship digital solution - TouchBase. Srikanth is also a former member of the Board of Directors of PMI Bangalore Chapter.

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