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 The path of never-ending product development



Kirjoittanut: Emil Makkula - tiimistä SYNTRE.

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 The path of never-ending product development

 

 

Written by: Aapo Virolainen, Emil Makkula and Samu Nyqvist

 

Chapter 1: Introduction to Product Development

“Product development typically refers to all stages involved in bringing a product from concept or idea through market release and beyond. In other words, product development incorporates a product’s entire journey.”(ProductPlan, 2021). This process is essential for businesses seeking to remain competitive and relevant in their respective industries.

 

The importance of product development can be seen in the benefits it provides to businesses. First and most importantly, successful product development can, and usually will lead to increased revenue and profits for a business. Additionally, introducing new or improved products into the market can help businesses improve their market share and enhance their product’s and company’s brand. (TWI, 2023)

 

The product development process typically involves several stages. These stages can vary depending on the industry and the specific product being developed, but they generally include identifying a market need, quantifying the opportunity, conceptualizing the product, validating the solution, building the road map, developing a minimum viable product (MVP), releasing the MVP, and lastly gather and use the feedback. (ProductPlan, 2021)

 

When in the idea exploration stage, businesses generate potential ideas for new or improved products. There are plenty of tools to choose from for idea generation. Some to be mentioned: brainstorming, customer feedback, competitor analysis, and technology scanning.

 

 

It is also important for businesses to screen and test their ideas. There is always risk in bringing a new or updated product to the market so they need to weigh if the risk is worth taking. For determining the feasibility and potential profitability of the product businesses can use tools such as SWOT analysis.

 

Once ideas have been generated and screened, businesses move on to concept development and testing. In this stage, they develop and test product concepts to determine their viability and appeal to customers (Ulrich & Eppinger, 2015).

 

The next stage is the design and development stage. It contains creating detailed specifications for the product, including its features, materials, and manufacturing techniques. Testing and launching involve creating prototypes or mockups of the product to evaluate its functionality and usability before introducing it to the market (Ulrich & Eppinger, 2015).

 

After everything else is done, the final step is post-launch evaluation and improvement. Using the gathered feedback, you can measure the success of the product and more easily identify areas for improvement.

 

 

Chapter 2: Idea Generation and Screening

Everything starts with a spark of an idea. Idea generation is the first stage of the product development process. It involves generating potential ideas for new or improved products. This chapter will focus on the importance of idea generation in product development, techniques for generating ideas, criteria for evaluating and screening ideas, and examples of successful idea generation and screening processes.

 

The importance of idea generation in product development cannot be overstated. It is the foundation upon which the entire product development process rests. Generating enough good ideas is essential to ensure that the company has a range of options to choose from and can select the best idea to pursue (Cooper, 2011). Without a solid idea generation process, a company may struggle to identify new opportunities or create innovative products.

 

There are multiple techniques for generating ideas. The most popular probably being the good old brainstorming. It is used to generate many ideas in a short amount of time. This technique involves gathering a group of people to generate ideas without judgment or criticism. Another technique is customer feedback, which involves gathering feedback from customers on their experiences with existing products or identifying unmet needs (Cooper, 2011).

 

Every business has competitors and one good way to develop your product and make it stand out is to do what’s called a “competitor analysis”. It includes analyzing the competitor product and their strategy. You can use the information to maybe copy a way of what they are doing or seek for the gaps to exploit in the market. Maybe they are missing something crucial that you can improve on.

 

As we spoke already in the first chapter; once ideas have been generated, businesses must evaluate and screen them to determine their feasibility and potential profitability.  Criteria for evaluating ideas can include market size, customer demand, technical feasibility, and competition (Cooper, 2011). Another tool for evaluating and screening ideas is the product/market opportunity matrix, which assesses the potential of a product in terms of its market growth rate and the company’s competitive strength (Cooper, 2011).

 

Idea generation is a very critical stage in the product development process. If you do the things mentioned above carefully enough, a successful idea generation and screening processes can lead to at the development of an innovative and successful product. For example, Apple is known for its successful idea generation process, which involves a focus on customer needs and an emphasis on design and innovation (Hofstetter, 2013).

 

Chapter 3: Concept Development and Testing

Concept development is the third stage in the product development process where ideas will be transformed into detailed product concepts.

 

Like all the other stages in product development, concept development is very important. You can’t know if your product is valid without testing it. When testing the whole concept, you will notice more flaws and can fix those. This is an essential step to make sure that the product concept is defined enough and meets all the needs of the market.

 

A useful method for concept developing is to create mock-ups or prototypes of the product concept. Prototyping allows for the visualization and testing of the product concept before investing significant resources into the development process. With these prototypes it is clearer to see the concept and hence visualize the final product (Cooper, 2011).

 

Good example of this is our project Liidis. Liidis is a smart business card that helps you to connect and network with people. We have been building the product, an app and a physical card for over a year now. Along the way we have made multiple prototypes to see what the product could be like.

 

To summarize; concept development and testing are a critical stage in the product development process. It helps to ensure that the product concept is well-defined and meets the needs of the target market. Methods for developing and testing product concepts, such as customer interviews, prototyping, and testing, can provide valuable insights into potential issues with the product concept and help to refine and improve it.

 

Chapter 4: Design and Development

Product design is the fourth stage in product development. It’s the process where the product is designed and put together. It focuses on how the product works and what it looks and feels like, where it’s manufactured and what it costs to produce.

 

The design of the product and the usability are both key factors when creating a successful product. Coming up with a great design for a product has a huge impact on its usability, aesthetics, and market appeal (Ulrich & Eppinger, 2015). When the product design process is done well it can positively impact the cost structure and the time it takes to bring the product to the market. When creating our own project “Liidis” we didn’t know that it takes so much time to figure out every little detail that makes a good product.

 

In a blog “7 Steps Product Development Process Explained” by Mary Sutton it is said that the design process of a product typically has several different stages and it varies between different product types. A Few examples of a different product design stages are prototyping, engineering, and testing. It is a long process to take an idea and turn it into a market-ready product. (Sutton, 2022)

Engineering is a stage where the product is designed to meet specified requirements. This stage typically involves the creation of detailed drawings, schematics, and specifications for the product (Ulrich & Eppinger, 2015). Prototyping is the stage where these drawings and schematics are brought to life in the shape of a physical model. This stage is critical in the design and development process, as it allows for the testing and refinement of the product design (Cooper, 2011). Prototyping can be done using various tools and techniques, such as 3D printing or computer-aided design (CAD) software.

 

One example of successful design and development processes is Apple’s development of the iPhone. The iPhone was designed using a user-centered approach, with a focus on simplicity and ease of use (Brown, 2009). The development process involved the creation of numerous prototypes and extensive testing to ensure that the final product met the needs of the target market. Another good example of design and development process is the development of the Tesla Model S. The Model S was designed using a combination of traditional and innovative design methods, such as using virtual reality tools to visualize the car’s interior before it was built (Ulrich & Eppinger, 2015).

Though our development process may not be as intensive as Apple’s or Tesla’s due to the lack of funds, we’re doing the most we can to develop Liidis to ensure that the product we release has high standards of functionality and quality. We want to make sure that the product we publish to the public is one we can be comfortable with having out there.

In conclusion, design and development are critical stages in the product development process. The design of a product can have a significant impact on its usability, aesthetics, and foremost the market appeal. The development process can have a significant impact on the time and cost required to bring the product to market. Tools and techniques such as CAD software and simulation tools can be used to aid in the design and development process.

 

Chapter 5: Testing and Launch

The testing and launching stages are two critical steps in the product development process. These are the stages in product development that can increase the chances of success and achieve the intended goals for the product.

Testing is vital in ensuring that the final product meets the required specifications and functions as intended. Testing can be done at various stages of the product development process, including unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing. The goal of testing is to identify and fix any defects or issues before the product is released to customers, which can ultimately save time and money in the long run (Babu et al., 2020).

The launch stage in turn marks the transition from development to commercialization, where the final product is introduced to the market. The launch stage is a critical step in the product development process as it can determine the success or failure of the product. There are several factors that should be considered in the launch stage. These include market research, product positioning, marketing, and distribution. Market research is a crucial step in the launch stage as it helps determine the potential demand for the product and identify the target market. Product positioning involves identifying the unique selling points of the product and differentiating it from competing products in the market. Effective product positioning can help attract customers and increase the chances of success in the market (Rajagopal, 2019).

Furthermore, marketing and promotion are critical during the launch stage as they help create awareness and generate interest in the product. The marketing strategy should be tailored to the target audience and should highlight the unique selling points of the product (Kumar & Kumar, 2019). Distribution is also a critical factor during this stage. The product distribution strategy should be designed to reach the target market effectively. Distribution channels can include online sales, retail stores, or direct sales to customers. The distribution strategy should also consider factors such as logistics and inventory management (Rajagopal, 2019).

In conclusion, both testing and launching stages are essential in the product development process. Testing can help ensure that the final product meets the required specifications, functions as intended, and meets customer expectations. On the other hand, launching the product into the market requires careful planning, market research, product positioning, marketing, and distribution strategies.

 

Chapter 6: Post-Launch Evaluation and Improvement

Post-launch evaluation and improvement are essential stages in product development, because they allow businesses to assess the success of their products and identify opportunities for improvement. This chapter will focus on the importance of post-launch evaluation and improvement in product development, the methods for evaluating product success, the techniques for improving product performance, and examples of successful post-launch evaluation and improvement processes.

Post-launch evaluation and improvement are critical to the success of a product. Evaluation helps businesses identify the strengths and weaknesses of their product and determine whether it is meeting customer needs and expectations. Improvement techniques can help businesses enhance their product’s features, functionality, and user experience to make it more competitive in the market (Cooper, 2011).

 

There are various methods for evaluating product success, including sales analysis, customer feedback, and competitive analysis. Sales analysis involves reviewing the product’s sales data to determine its market performance and identify areas for improvement (Ulrich & Eppinger, 2015). Customer feedback involves gathering feedback from customers through surveys, focus groups, or other methods to identify areas for improvement (Cooper, 2011). Competitive analysis involves analyzing the product’s competition to identify areas where the product can be improved to be more competitive in the market (Ulrich & Eppinger, 2015).

If the evaluation it recommends, there are various techniques that can be used to improve the product post-launch. These include enhancement, product optimization, and user experience improvements. Feature enhancement involves adding new features or functionalities to the product to make it more attractive to customers. Product optimization involves making changes to the product’s design or manufacturing process to reduce costs and improve performance. User experience improvements involve making changes to the product’s interface, usability, or accessibility to improve the user experience (Cooper, 2011).

In conclusion, post-launch evaluation and improvement are critical stages in the product development process. Evaluation techniques can help businesses identify the strengths and weaknesses of their products and determine whether it is meeting customer needs and expectations. Improvement techniques can help businesses enhance their product’s features, functionality, and user experience to make it more competitive in the market.

 

Chapter 7: Conclusion

In conclusion, product development is a crucial process that involves all stages of bringing a product from its concept to the market and beyond. This process helps businesses remain competitive and relevant in their industries by introducing new or improved products, increasing revenue and profits, and enhancing their market share and brand. The stages of product development include identifying a market need, quantifying the opportunity, conceptualizing the product, validating the solution, building the road map, developing a minimum viable product (MVP), releasing the MVP, and gathering and using feedback. Idea generation is the first stage of product development, which involves generating potential ideas for new or improved products. Techniques for idea generation include brainstorming, customer feedback, competitor analysis, and technology scanning. Idea screening involves evaluating and screening ideas to determine their feasibility and potential profitability. Criteria for evaluating ideas can include market size, customer demand, technical feasibility, and competition. Concept development is the third stage in the product development process, where ideas are transformed into detailed product concepts. This stage includes creating prototypes or mockups of the product to evaluate its functionality and usability before introducing it to the market. Overall, a successful product development process can lead to the development of an innovative and successful product, as seen in the example of Apple’s successful idea generation process, which focuses on customer needs and an emphasis on design and innovation.

 

 

List of References:

 

Babu, G. A., Rana, R., & Sahoo, S. 2020. Testing in Software Development Life Cycle: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, 13(10), p. 474-489.

Eppinger, S., Ulrich, K. 2015. Product Design and Development. 6th edition. McGraw-Hill Education.

Kumar, V., & Kumar, U. 2019. New product development: a review of literature and a conceptual framework. Management Research Review, 42(7), p. 776-796.

Rajagopal. 2019. New product development: Stages and strategies. International Journal of Management Studies and Research, 7(6), p. 43-50.

 

What is product development? (2.9.2021) What Is Product Development? Read on 9.3.2023 https://www.productplan.com/learn/what-is-product-development/

 

What is product development? (2023) (definition and examples) TWI. Read on 9.3.2023  https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/product-development#:~:text=Why%20Product%20Development%20is%20Important,take%20the%20products%20to%20market

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