Experts Column

7 Key Steps To Innovative Product Development

With a career flowing in IT industry, in the various platforms of product engineering, risk management, operations management, strategic planning and consulting, she has guided companies to rooftop success in implementing strategies for successful newest product promotion.

Digital disruptions are the need of the hour, as businesses and lifestyles are being governed by the new rules of a global pandemic, making remote engagement and digitisation the new normal. And this new normal demands innovations that are not only out-of-the-box, untried ideas but also carry the potential of solving some of the pressing challenges, and create impactful results. In other words, one of the key requirements for any successful tech innovation is the product/ service - market fit. However, the real journey of a new product development starts with an innovative idea, forming the foundation for further development.

Listed here are 7 key steps that one must consider, before embarking on development of their next tech innovation:

Out-of-the-Box Ideation:

For any new product/ innovation to be developed, an out-of-box, radical idea forms the base. Ideally, having multiple ideas that can address a particular problem/ market demand, is a good strategy for any new product development. Understandably, brain-storming sessions, and culling out raw and unproven ideas which can be later shortlisted, is the first step! However, the focus needs to always be on the custom-er problems that need solving and all ideas need to address this one basic requirement. And then it is all about Replicating, re-proposing, and upgrading the shortlisted ideas to come up with the best final product idea.

Effective Idea Screening Processes

As one of the key steps to product development milestone, effective screening of the ideas revolves around choosing the one that has the highest potential for success. Having put all the best ideas on the table, and reviewing them from an external and expert point of view, is the next step. From seeking out a feedback and review from people with industry knowledge and experience in the field to having a POC for a new product development idea, all hold vital significance as it helps get an unbiased and objective assessment for the feasibility of the idea.

Additionally, a consult with the Agile Development team or a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) would help, as zeroing in on an idea that is not technically feasible to build, will eventually lead to disappointment and failure.

Concept Development and Testing

Once the idea is thoroughly vetted and approved, the next crucial step is to build a detailed version of the idea in alignment with the user stories. Creating an insightful picture of the product from the user’s perspective, conducting competitor analysis, and enlisting all the major features of the product, can help create a value proposition conversation for the users along with concept testing. This form of value proposition evaluation is one of the foundations of concept development and testing, which will ensure that any challenges, or problems in the idea will be discovered at an early stage, and can be course-corrected immediately, saving time and resources.

“The best and most straightforward approach for building an effective marketing strategy is to follow mccarthy’s 4ps of marketing (i.e., product, price, promotion, and placement) while developing a new product”

Market Strategy/Business Analysis

The best and most straightforward approach for building an effective marketing strategy is to follow McCarthy’s 4Ps of marketing (i.e., product, price, pro-motion, and placement) while developing a new product. While creating a cost-based pricing model, one must consider the price above market, copy market, and price below market, so as to come up with final market-focused pricing for the product.

Seamless Product Development

Once the ideation, analysis and business strategy are in place, it is time to move on to the actual product development cycle. With a clear focus on building aesthetic UI/UX for the product, one needs to visualize how the product will look and whether it complies with ergonomics' best practices, is in alignment with the user stories, and has features that can make it stand apart from the rest of the competition.

Following Strict Market Testing

Once the product development is complete, it is time for careful and strategic market testing, which needs to focus on reducing the uncertainty revolving around the success of the software product. The same can be achieved by checking the viability of the new product and its marketing campaign, through two powerful techniques:

• Alpha Testing: This is generally done by in-house engineers, deployed to judge the product based on its performance. Additionally, the marketing mix results are mapped with the product, and analysed based on its performance, allowing for last minute improvements or modifications, before the final go-ahead.

• Beta Testing: This generally involves testing the product with specific target groups of customers, who can then share their unbiased feedback of the product. Essentially, this is more about listening to the voice-of-customers, and including their feed-back as the vital aspect of product development.

Market Entry/Commercialization

Commercialization of the final product after a complete and successful testing, entails various aspects that need to be considered for a successful market launch. These include a perfectly coordinated approach to production, distribution, sales, marketing, and customer support. An effectively coordinated effort that addresses all of the above, can help strengthen the product-market. Additionally, an effective marketing strategy that can further strengthen the brand voice, visibility and customer delight, can drive the success and accelerated adoption by the market.

Endnote: Ensuring the above steps are well implemented in product development cycle helps not only in checking the technical feasibility of the idea but also ensures faster time to market while effectively addressing the customer needs. In additional to this, it also multiplies the chances of success, reducing technical debts and offering better management of the production cycle and negates the opportunity cost.