The success of the new product development process hinges upon the uniqueness of the ideas generated. Sources of ideas for new product development can be obtained from the customers, the employees, or experts. Methods of idea generation include problem analysis, use of idea generation software, experiments, product road mapping, and the Delphi method.
Problem Analysis Method
This method focuses on the inadequacies of the organization’s product to come up with ideas for developing improved products. The company issues its customers with questionnaires addressing problems with its products. Based on response from the customer, the administration comes up with a list of possible product ideas.
This method is used by organizations that want to maintain customer needs by reinventing current products and services to suit the changing customer needs. For instance, this idea is applicable in developing cell phones with applications that make the users life easier, for example, smart phones.
Idea Generation Software
This method uses computer software to generate new ideas for new product development. Software that can be used includes Axon Idea processor, barnstormer, and concept draw map. The software prompts the user to type in hints of the idea they want to generate. The software uses the hints to come up with plausible ideas that the user can select from. This method can be used to create a new design for sporting shoes suitable for individuals with leg or feet injuries.
Product Road Mapping Method
In this method of new product development, a creative team carries out an analysis of the organization’s current products and services since their inception. The analysis helps to identify how the product has evolved over its life cycle and avoid redundant ideas.
The creative team then analyses how consumer needs have evolved over the product life cycle before carrying out analysis of the market environment to determine how customer needs are changing. This helps the organization to determine which ideas will be most feasible for new product development. New ideas for making household appliances can be developed using this method, for example a fridge with a water dispenser.
In this method of new product development, a creative team uses trial and error method to come up with product ideas. The creative teams develop many prototypes of plausible products before reviewing the results. This process continues until the teams develop a unique and new product to the market. Paint manufactures can use this method to mix various colors of paint until they develop a color that is unique and appealing to customers.
The Delphi Method
This method of new product development uses experts to come up with new ideas. An organization creates a panel to review the expert’s idea. The experts are given an opportunity to present their ideas to the panel and the panel reviews the ideas and then gives feedback to the experts on how to improve them. The panel then selects the best idea for new product development. New ideas for clothing line can be generated using this method.
The various new product idea generation methods are appropriate in different industries. Each of the methods has its advantages and disadvantages. Nevertheless, the problem analysis method is the most useful. It helps the organization to develop products which are already accepted in the market and such strategy helps to shorten the product development time by eliminating or cutting short the testing phase.