Successful products are the heart of all thriving businesses. You may have seen products that look great, but they fail. Other products, though, seem doubtful but fly off the shelves. What is the difference between the products that make it and others that don’t?
Successful Products Don’t Happen by Accident
While it is nice to hear the success story of the product that a person thought of while eating dinner and then scribbled the plans on a napkin, most products don’t happen like that. Successful companies don’t leave product development to happenstance – they will likely take time perfecting things like their plastic injection moulding to make sure that their end product is the best it can be, and that large quantities of them can be made at consistently high quality. Product development is a well-thought-out process designed to maximize the odds that a product will be successful and minimize the odds that a product will fail.
An Environment Where Ideas Thrive
Every product was first an idea in someone’s head. Successful companies know that ideas can come from anyone. The idea may come from the engineer, the accountant, or the janitor. The goal is to create a company with an environment where people feel free to offer their ideas.
Some companies even designate individuals who are responsible for building this pro idea environment. These individuals are creative-minded themselves, and they are okay with thinking outside of the box. At the same time, they have the communication skills needed to actively approach the marketing team, sales team, and engineering team to find ideas to address strategic needs or a specific customer pain point.
It is good to remember that a new product does not have to be revolutionary to be successful. Many phenomenally successful products simply improve an existing product by a small increment. A creative environment has a constant flow of revolutionary ideas as well as incremental changes.
Schedule Brainstorming Sessions
Brainstorming sessions are fun, and they are a great way to get ideas flowing. There needs to be the organization behind them because a good brainstorming session can easily go off to the twilight zone.
A brainstorming session involves defining the problem that needs to be addressed. There needs to be clear time and resource restraints laid out for product creation. A team leader needs to be assigned to keep everyone on track during the session.
To be successful, a brainstorming session should have an eclectic group of participants. There should be open-minded people. Individuals who are directly affected by the problem that needs to be solved by the product should be there. Brainstorming sessions can take days. They can be broken into different sessions. The goal is to zero in on the best ideas.
Build a Prototype
In the medical field, it is a good idea to create a prototype to test for usability in certain industries. Creating a prototype allows you to identify flaws and safety issues.
With the example of a medical device, a company could try to build the medical device in-house or outsource it to medical devices contract manufacturing companies that can build and test the prototype. Outsourcing is a valuable tool that allows creative companies to design and create products while focusing on their core competencies.
An organization may want to outsource a product if the development activities are non-core. This allows them to focus on what they do best without buying material, contracting engineers, or learning techniques to build their prototype safely.
With the example of the medical device, if a company outsources the design and building of the prototype to an organization that frequently makes medical devices, they don’t have to worry about buying equipment or training personnel to build the prototype. They get the end product and can test and determine if it is viable for their needs. Outsourcing product development facilitates the development of core competencies.
Once you have the idea and have created the prototype, it is time to market the product. The job doesn’t end there. The next step is to manage a smooth product rollout. Creating a new product is challenging and time-consuming. It requires innovative out-of-the-box thinking. However, when done correctly, it can be financially profitable and emotionally rewarding.