Qi3 – Quality, Insight, Integrity & Innovation - UNITING TECHNOLOGY & MARKETING

A Positive Approach to New Product Development

Are your time and resources being spent efficiently and effectively during New Product Development (NPD)?

A successful NPD strategy will consist of three interlinked paths: Technical Development, Market Assessment, and Intellectual Property (IP) Protection. These three paths should be managed through a staged evaluation process: where progression occurs once the assigned activities for all three paths, have been accomplished in the previous stage. The level of detail becomes more refined and the amount of resources applied increases as each stage is passed.

Time and effort spent developing and patenting the technology is essential, but market assessment should not be forgotten. Haven’t you ever wondered why most patents never recover their costs? It is down to the fact that costs incurred are unlikely to be recovered if there is no need for the technology in the market. A sensible Market Assessment carried out in stage 1 will allow you to understand whether further patenting and R & D costs are justified.

As Technology Development and IP Protection becomes more intense so to should Market Assessment; progressing from answering simple questions such as is there a demand for my product to which markets should I target? What are the best entry strategies? How can I achieve significant early sales?

Two generic models, technology push or market pull, can be used to asses the need and select the target markets of a technology. Technology push involves the creation of technology followed by finding ways of using that technology in a market. Market pull conversely involves finding the technology or product solution for a known market demand. When selecting which markets present the most favourable targets we integrate our technology and marketing experience. A classic trade-off balances market attractiveness against, company strength, and potential risk.

It is all well and good looking at which markets to target in Stage 1, but what happens if there is not a need for your product. Is a negative response at this early stage the end of the line? As far as we are concerned the answer is No! A market assessment should indicate areas in which changes can be made to improve the chances of success.

We recently carried out a market assessment for a University spin-out company involved in optoelectronics. This business had won a SMART Feasibility Award for the investigation of the technical and market feasibility of a potential product. Using this funding we investigated the market potential, competitors, pricing strategy and early target customers for their product.

The SMART Feasibility Award is just one of a number of schemes offering government support to SME’s that are specifically designed to help with the NPD process. The initial results were not positive; there was only a limited chance of success in the target markets. However, our investigation discovered that with revised specifications a much larger market could be accessed, with a reasonable chance of success.

This market assessment led to further development work and extension of the prototype to meet the needs of the new markets. The initial entry programme currently underway has so far been a huge success.

In conclusion Market Assessment is just one part of the NPD process, but a good market assessment will find ways of enhancing your chances of success. Sometimes this means changing your original ideas to suit particular markets. This is one area where a strong technology background, combined with commercial depth, allows us to challenge previously made assumptions.

For further information please look at the services section of our website or contact Nathan Hill at nathan.hill@qi3.co.uk

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