Innovators, Are You Doing Right Now ?
Technological advancements are transforming the marketplace at a faster rate than ever before, resulting in an increased amount of competition, shorter product life cycles, and lower returns on investment. In the past, innovation has played a fundamental role in the creation and development of new products, but today’s product developers are being challenged to rethink the types of innovation strategies they’ll implement.
The sophistication of product developers today is far greater than even five years ago. Furthermore, there is an emerging breed of product developer who goes above and beyond the rest. These product developers are creating a new generation of game-changing products that are able to produce strong brand identification while generating maximum sales by combining the best of breed technologies and user experiences.
The most innovative product developers of today are doing these things with an eye toward the future:
Using differentiating capabilities to create products
Utilizing established brands or trademarks to create spinoff products with new attributes is an outdated practice that no longer ensures longevity in the market. To be successful in the long run, products must have new deliverables and a differentiated capability system.
Innovations in technology and intrinsic characteristics allow game-changing products to gain competitive advantages. It goes far beyond more traditional approaches such as extending brands to create products.
A good example of a product that has successfully utilized a differentiated capability system is the Dyson vacuum cleaner. Dyson changed the way vacuum cleaners are manufactured as the first bag-less model. In order to accomplish this, the Dyson vacuum used superior suction to suction dust into a clear canister which could be easily disposed of and reattached to the vacuum in a fast, easy manner. Before the first Dyson vacuum cleaner hit the market, the company had over 5,000 product prototypes.
Developers of innovative products measure the success of their products on these factors:
- Is the product unique in any way?
- How differentiated is the manufacturer’s innovation capability?
- How well equipped is R&D to support this product?
How to personalize your products
This era of product personalization and customization transcends all product categories and industries. Dell revolutionized personal computer production in the mid-2000s by mass producing computers that could be customized to any need. Dell is often credited with ushering in the era of product personalization. Millennials are gaining purchasing power as consumer habits begin to shift, displacing aging baby boomers. Brand loyalty is less important to millennials who prefer more personalized products. The best product developers are not only on top of product developments, but they are also in touch with marketplace trends, which they use to create products that will dominate in the marketplace tomorrow. When developing products with a personalization strategy, product developers often follow these steps:
- How much customization will be offered to customers: allow them to design their own unique products with a wide range of features or offer minor modifications?
- Alternatively, provide customers with an easy-to-follow design template, rather than a blank slate that may turn customers off if it’s too complex or difficult to use.
Designing products that are distinctive and unique
Design is often incorporated too late in the product development process. Innovating approaches strategically include design during product creation.
A product’s interior and exterior electronics must be designed and function simultaneously. This strategy facilitates seamless collaboration between components of a product while providing a distinctive appearance often characterized by sleek design.
Apple Inc. revolutionized the computer industry by showing how design-driven products can be incredibly valuable early in the 2000s. Additionally, we learned that design can be used to disrupt an entire industry rather than technology. In addition to sleek designs, bold colors, organic forms, compactness, and user-friendly systems, tomorrow’s game-changing products will have bold, sleek designs.
A good product developer views design as a strategic resource, not an aesthetic concern.
Adding digital attributes to products
Innovative product developers integrate digitization into new products as much as possible and look for opportunities to do so. In order to design new products with a digital orientation, smarter technologies as well as actionable research and data must be used. Product developers that integrate digitization into product features will be in a better position to compete in a market with increasingly shorter product life cycles. The questions they ask are:
- Is digitization going to change the position of our product in this category following its introduction?
- Would disruptions from new competitors or new entrants affect our product design? If so, what can we do about it?
- To qualify as a category leader, what digital attributes must we possess?
Globalizing work tasks to optimize costs and increase efficiency
It takes a great deal of money, planning, and resources to develop new products. Therefore, smart product developers outsource their work tasks globally. Product developers can achieve efficient manufacturing production and optimize production costs while maintaining product quality.
Those who are savvy product developers know how valuable it is to collaborate with a partner that has a deep understanding of their product’s industry and a vested interest in the success of their brand. Rather than deal with the additional distractions and start-up costs associated with manufacturing initiatives, this focuses on creating the products of tomorrow.
Product developers benefit from working with a full-service project management partner when it comes to creating more valuable products, creating speed-to-market production strategies, and providing strategic product management to enable their products to succeed.
It is not enough to improvise on traditional development methods to be a best of breed product developer. This model leverages whole new methodologies and disrupts entire categories of products. Throughout their development strategy, they emphasize differentiated capability systems, product customization, differentiation, and digitization.
Moreover, savvy product developers also understand the value of being focused on what they do best and are likely to collaborate with specialized manufacturers or contract manufacturers that can provide a manufacturing solution that enables them to focus on what they do best – creating the next generation of game-changing products.