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Creativity In New Product Development - New Products Development Strategies

   Posted On :  18.06.2018 09:52 pm

Consider a recent transformation at Procter & Gamble. Once a hotbed of creativity, P & G had in recent years seen the number of its product innovations decline significantly.

Creativity In New Product Development

Consider a recent transformation at Procter & Gamble. Once a hotbed of creativity, P & G had in recent years seen the number of its product innovations decline significantly. In response, the company established Corporate New Ventures, a small cross-functional team that embodies creativity – enhancing practices.
 
In terms of challenge for instance, members of the CNV team were allowed to elect themselves. How better to make sure someone is intrinsically motivated for an assignment than to ask for volunteers? Building a team from volunteers, it should be noted, was a major departure from standard P & G procedures.
 
Members of the CNV team also were given a clear, challenging strategic goal: to invent radical news products that would build the company’s future. Again departing from typical P & G practices, the team was given enormous latitude around how, when and where they approached their work.
 
In the three years since its inception. CNV has handed off II projects to the business sectors for execution. And as of early 1998, those products were beginning to flow out of the pipeline. The first product, design to provide portable heat for several hours relief of minor pain, was already in test marketing. And six other products were slated to go to test market within a year. Not surprisingly, given CNV’s success, P & G is beginning to expand both the size and the scope of its CNV venture.
 

a. Flexible Product Design for New Product Development

 
 
Product design is fast emerging as a force in the new ICE – age economy – for Internet devices, Websites, office equipment and even household gadgets. All these technological changes are reducing the product life cycle and bringing in more and more design innovation. The market that has taken most of the beating is an electronic gadget, be it computers pocket devices or phones. Trendier, more vibrant than the earlier versions, they are getting smaller too.
 
The shift towards sleek devices has come from the need for physical mobility, something that is crucial with almost all these gadgets. Studies indicate that the shift has more to do with analysis on human interaction with the devices. Product designs, today, focus on aspects of functionality, unlike the time when designs were incorporated to have a product extension in the market.
 
The best product example to describe this is the hands- free option that most third generation cellular phones carry. Whether it is as simple as a pen or as complicated as a keyboard that can be folded and carried in the pocket, design is changing the way products are looked at. Another field that is witnessing a lot of design change is pharmaceutical and medicine and medical equipment. With new technological improvements and design innovations, one gets to know his or her blood pressure with a guage attached to one’s watch.
 
The watch gives out danger signals each time the pressure varies beyond the specified standards. It is amazing how quickly designers are able to conceptualize designs that are then incorporated into products. With designs playing such an important role in product differentiation, design specifications will change beyond imagination – soon.
 
Product design, the painstaking process by which prototypes are developed and specifications are created and implemented in actual production, is an integral part of any business strategy. For the process to work effectively, every aspect of each activity related to the product and its life cycle must be taken into account.
 
These include supplier involvement, customer involvement, manufacturability, cost, time, management, usability, marketability and disassembly or recyclability. With such wide-ranging elements coming to play, a well – thought out design can provide a company with the competitive edge needed for achieving greater profits and higher market share. Organizations are always looking for better ways to design products.

 Intel, for example, has emphasized design ethnography, which focuses on understanding the customer and the culture in which a product is used. The world wide web is increasingly used for product design activities such as finding information on parts and materials, sharing designs among people, automating design sign-off ’s and linking geographically dispersed designed teams.
 
Majority of Chief Executives believe that design issues will be of increasing competitive importance in the coming years. Many product failures – even those by otherwise successful companies – might have been avoided if better product design methods were used. Author Tom Peters coined the phrase “design mindfulness” to refer to the benefits of a committed creative, an energetic focus on great design.
 

b. Integrating Consumer and Designer Preferences

 
 
Improved product design can be achieved by taking the viewpoints of both designers and consumers into account. In conventional product design, the marketing department sends consumers preferences to the designer, who then creates a design to meet those preferences. A delicate balance must be struck between the struck between the consumer and the designer since plans based solely on consumer preferences may be unfeasible or unrealistic.
 
Designers acting alone, on the other hand, may come up with a product that is a technological marvel, but that consumers see as silly and unusable. Consumer’s decision-making processes are not perfect and may given an inaccurate picture of preferences. They often think in terms of abstract goals that are difficult to translate into product features. A lack of expertise or incomplete consideration of alternatives can also lead consumers to make choices based on vague preferences, rather than considering ways to realize concrete operation benefits that would realized with greater experience and exploration.
 
Designers can make up for some of the short-comings of consumer input, since they usually understand more about future technologically possibilities and look at a longer time line. They are also in a better position to know that competitors might offer. For example, consumers may desire a “user – friendly” personal computer that is easy to get started with, but the designer realizes the computer should also meet longer – term needs. Therefore, designers should have the freedom to create innovative product designs that not only meet current user requirements but are also up to the demands of future consumer expectations. This give and take requires a delicate balance between designers and consumers since research has shown a high correlation between inadequate feedback from users and the failure of a new product containing technical innovations.
 

c. Striking a Balance between Consumers and Designers

 
 
The way a consumer looks at product attributes is usually much different from the way a designer looks at product “characteristics”. For example, a consumer may want a boat to be fast, but a designer looks at characteristics that affect the speed of the boar, such as engine size and full shape. A distinction can be made between product characteristics and attributes: Product characteristics physically define the product and influence the formation of product attributes; product attributes define consumer perceptions and are usually fewer in number and more abstract than product characteristics.
 
Past product design research has focused on optimization with respect to either consumer attributes or designer characteristics. However, both the consumer and the designer will benefit from a balanced design. Plans based solely on consumer attributes ignore the relationship between attributes and characteristics; using only designer characteristics inadequately accounts for the consumer’s preferences. A better approach to product design would account for the relationship between the two.
 
In other words, what design characteristics would bring about the desired consumer attributes? In short, translating consumer attributes into the appropriate and corresponding design characteristics can optimize product design. This is the great benefit of multi-source product design: it optimizes both sides of the equation simultaneously.
 

d. The Future Of New Products Management

 
In the new millennium, we are seeing more segmentation there will be even more competition for almost everyone than there is today; and life cycles of products will continue to get shorter or stay short. Similarly, most of the forces acting to increase the costs of innovation will remain high or will increase. In most instances productivity will increase as all producers focus so intently on it as the path to lower costs and higher-quality product. On the positive side, three forces acting to at least partially forces acting to at least partially offset the negative forces described above.
 
All three of these positive forces will get stronger, not weaker. The first, technology, is the strongest of all it can and that there is little left to invent, we know that this simply not so. Computerization, automated manufacturing, molecular biology, fiber optics and surface ceramics are just a few of many fields that offer what almost certainly will be more technological opportunities in the next 25 years than in the past 50.
 
Molecular biology has the potential for outstripping anything else done so far in this century. Moreover, there is an amazing move to invest large sums of money in older technologies, especially in the so-called mature industries. And as a final plus international opportunity continues to grow and contribute new markets, new skills and new concepts of management.
 
The second positive force is the general willingness of consumers to accept new items – otherwise there is absolutely no basis for forecasting. And third, management’s general capability has been growing almost exponentially, particularly by taking advantage of the many MBAs entering the work force and the wide array of continuing education opportunities for managers today. The combined results of these negative and positive forces are mixed, of course, but the negatives had no perceived effect on the development and marketing of home video systems or on the development of new drugs in recent years. 
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