Over about 2 decades, working in the traditional marketing environments, with consumer products, I was able to ‘substantiate’ the following process to develop new products. Please keep in mind that many of the steps are at times taken in parallel, to save time, and streamline output. Also, ‘product’ refers to both product and service, albeit some adaptation to accommodate related variables.
1. Ideation: From any source, internal or external to the organization.
2. Conception with Concept Testing: The process of converting the product idea into a product concept. Conception can be done via concept testing (consumer research); developing a preliminary concept, testing it, and then refining it to arrive at a defined concept. For a concept to be pursue-able, it must be, a) Written in consumer language, and b) Address a genuine consumer issue and present a valid resolution of that issue.
3. New / Existing Product Development Brief: A scan of the current product portfolio of the organization would provide a clearer picture of whether any of the existing portfolio could be enhanced to deliver on the concept arrived at in Step 2 above. Once determined, a thorough brief should be drafted, which provides the rationale as well as all the details needed to embark on the product development.
4. Prototype Development: This is the proof of concept for internal and external (to the organization) stakeholders.
5. Central Location Test: The target consumers are brought to a central location, in a controlled environment, and the prototype is tested in terms of consumer understanding and usage. This allows for authentic feedback to improve the product.
6. Tweaking: Based on the CLT, the prototype is further improved.
7. Home/Office Usage Test: The product is provided to the target consumers, where they are able to use the product as they see fit. This helps ascertain if there are any anomalies in look, feel and delivery of the product, which need to be addressed before a larger scale production is done.
8. Finalize Product Specification and Packaging: Based on Steps 5-7, the product is finalized for the next step.
9. Sign-Off / Launch Plan: A full-fledged (usually) Launch Plan is put together, which provides all the necessary details for a final sign-off by the respective stakeholders. Of course, this is where the sales forecast, profit estimation, and risks faced are jotted down, to apprise all decision makers, and help arrive at a Go/No-Go decision.
10. Launch: Based on the approval/sign-off in Step 9, this is delivery time. If the NPD Process has been implemented professionally, and with clarity, this step should be smooth. If issues arise, they can be addressed.
11. Post Launch Review: A thorough and honest review of the implementation/launch, should be made. All learnings should be addressed.
12. Improvement in the Offering