What Is Product Innovation?

Product innovation is the process by which new products are developed and brought to market. A successful new product or product innovation generally satisfies a customer need better than previously launched products.

A new product can offer a tangible improvement – through additional or improved features, or an intangible improvement – cooler branding, more appealing design.

Product innovation arises as a result of the complex interaction of a number of factors which include – science, technology, business and society.

New product development is sometimes viewed as either technology-led or customer insight-led.

Technology-led means that an innovator seeks to identify ways that a new technology could be used in new products in order to solve a new customer problem. Otherwise he may look at how the new technology could be used to solve a longstanding customer problem more effectively.

By contrast, a customer insight-led approach to new product development means that the innovation process starts with the innovation team undertaking research among customers and potential customers.

The approach for this research may vary. However, typically some of the research would be qualitative. Qualitative research explores a customer’s attitudes and behaviours relating to aspects of their domestic life or of their work life. The researcher may seek to discuss products the customer currently uses and also may probe for any unmet needs that the respondent may have.

We suggest that by taking a creative approach to customer research you will achieve the type of outputs that will be most beneficial to your innovation projects.

Such research findings can be used to generate customer insights. Customer insights are a way of neatly expressing customer needs framed in an appropriate amount of context.

Customer insights are an excellent foundation for product invention.

Product invention is a creative process where product ideas are generated, refined and developed into new product ‘concepts’. Product invention is often an iterative process.

The innovation process may involve further research where the concepts are discussed with potential customers. The findings from this research can then be incorporated into the next phase of new product development.

In truth, a company’s new product development process is rarely exclusively either technology-led or customer insight-led. Technology development and customer insight are usually both important to successful product innovations.

Within organisations, new product development is generally a collaborative process. People from research and development, marketing, finance, manufacturing, distribution and legal will all need to work together as a high performing team in order to achieve a successful new product launch. Organisations that have an innovation culture are most likely to have successful new product launches.

Incremental Innovation Or Radical Innovation?

New product development can be categorised as incremental innovation or radical innovation. Radical innovation is sometimes also called disruptive innovation or breakthrough innovation.

Incremental innovation or incremental new product development involves creating products that still rely on the same basic technology as other established products in that sector, while also offering some additional features and benefits. Incremental innovation is the lower risk option. Incremental innovation can generally be copied relatively quickly by competitors.

Radical or disruptive innovation by contrast, uses a new technology and radically transforms products and markets. The digital camera was a disruptive innovation. It relies on a new technology - digital memory rather than print film to record pictures.

Radical innovations are generally higher risk than incremental innovations. However, they also offer the greater potential returns both financially and in terms of their ability to enhance company reputation and build brands.

Product Innovation: Business Benefits.

  • Develops new revenue streams
  • Can increase margins because the new products satisfy the customers’ needs better and therefore customers are willing to pay a price premium
  • Aids customer retention and opens up new markets
  • Enhances a company’s reputation

Why Choose Anatellô To Help With Product Innovation?

Anatellô can help you with any or all stages of the product innovation process:-

Innovation Strategy

Before you begin your product innovation we can help you to develop an innovation strategy. This will involve identifying what you want to achieve through innovation and also what innovation resources your organisation has available. This will mean you can innovate more efficiently and effectively.

Research And Insight

We can help you with the research and insight process at the front end to help you understand what customers want. Our creative research process can also help you identify what customers do not yet know they want – their hidden needs. This will help you ensure that there is a customer need for your product when it arrives in the market. It will also help maximise market potential for your innovations.

Product Invention

We can help you invent product concepts that respond to the customer needs that you have identified in the market research and insight process.

We can help you with the next stage of research which may include getting feedback from customers and also getting their creative input into the new product concepts. This will help you craft product concepts which appeal strongly to customers.

Innovation Management

We can help you with innovation management, market modelling and forecasting.

This will mean that you capitalise on the customer understanding you have gained and the great product concepts you have developed, by ensuring that the concepts are progressed to launch and that you get a return on your innovation investment.