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How to maximise product development opportunities


Developing and launching a new product requires a bit of inspiration and a lot of business nous. There’s a lot to balance – finding the next ‘big idea’, making sure it has a place in the market, internal resourcing, etc. But with the right plan in place you can set your new venture up for success.

Innovation is on the increase, with patent applications rising by 36 per cent over the past three years according to statistics from IP Australia. statistics from IP Australia. However, applying for a patent is only one of a number of steps involved in the creation and launch of a new product design.

Four-step process

The whole innovation process consists of four overlapping and interrelated steps: idea generation, development and design, prototyping, and finally production, marketing and commercialisation. To be successful, however, it’s best to start out with a rough idea of where you might end up.

Stay ahead of the curve

There is a strong argument for all businesses to be constantly investing in research and development in order to stay ahead of would-be competitors, and products that may suddenly appear on the market. This requires constant iterative product development, and a strong enough understanding of your customers to know not just what they want today, but what they might want tomorrow.

Know where you’re going

With the end-goal in mind, it’s important to determine whether a new product will increase your market share or cause a shift in consumption habits among existing customers. Launching new flavours, designs or packaging might seem like a good idea, but it also needs to be accompanied by clever, well-targeted marketing to make sure you’re not simply cannibalising existing markets.

Prototype and testing

There are any number of ways to go about testing and tweaking a new product, but the most commercially successful are those that are trialed in ‘close to market’ conditions. Market research, such as running focus groups, is useful within a limited context, but it doesn’t provide the ultimate market test and demonstrate whether customers will be prepared to pay for a new product. Wherever possible, it’s better to conduct small-scale commercial tests, to determine whether or not it’s worth rolling out a new product line.

While the whole process might seem daunting, ongoing product development is fundamental to the long-term success of any business. The key is to stay ahead of the market by constantly innovating and testing new products on a small scale before rolling them out commercially.

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