Common Product Development Problems: We Need to Generate More Product Ideas

By John Wu - December 15, 2014

Some companies recognize the need to continually update, evaluate, and challenge their existing product line. And because of that, they have a process in place for generating new product ideas—not just ideas, but valid, marketable, profitable ideas that result in a continual evolution of their product line.
Unfortunately, there are also companies that don’t recognize this need. They don’t realize that the reason they’re struggling has a lot to do with the absence of a process for generating ideas for new products. Instead of developing such a process, they generate excuses. Here are some of the excuses we’ve heard:
•It’s too expensive to develop new products.
It sounds cliché, but it’s too expensive not to develop new products. If a company makes a profit by designing, developing, manufacturing, and selling products, the company must invest in new product development. If they don’t, eventually there won’t be anything to sell.
•We don’t have the time to come up with new ideas.
“We don’t have time” is just another way of saying, “It’s not important.” Think of every other area of your life where you’ve said, “I don’t have time.” In every scenario, what that really meant was, “It’s not important to me.” People say they don’t exercise, or fix the car, or clean the gutters, and so on because they don’t have time, but what they really mean is it isn’t important enough for them to make it a priority. Investing the time required to generate new product ideas and to new product development must become a priority if a company is going to survive.
•Our product line is doing so well we don’t need/want to invest the time to develop new products right now.
All products have a finite life cycle. Some will last longer than others, but in the end, the product will die. And if there are no new products to take the place of the expired products, the eventual result will be the death of the company. Look at a company like Apple. After the success of the iPod, they could have sat back and said, “Things are good. Let’s not invest in new products right now.” They could have done the same thing with the iPhone, the iPad, and so on. If they had done that in either scenario, Apple wouldn’t be where it is today since their competition would have blown right by them. If your product line is truly doing well, that’s not the time to decrease your investment in new products. It’s the best time to increase your investment.
•We don’t really know how to come up with new ideas.
In other words, “We don’t know how, and we won’t try.” They sit back and hope that someone in the company will come up with something before the existing products run through their life cycle. Many times in smaller companies, all of the growth potential hinges on the ability of one or two people to come up with the next profitable product idea. Often, it’s the President/Owner of the company who’s typically pulled in countless directions that have nothing to do with generating the next product idea. The reason the company doesn’t know how is because they’ve never tried. Maybe the President doesn’t want to give up that control or give that freedom. Maybe the company is resistant to change. Maybe they’re afraid they won’t be successful. There are countless reasons and excuses. Not knowing how is a result of not deciding to invest the time and energy into making it happen. Don’t try to figure out how to come up with ideas before deciding to do it. Make the decision and commitment to invest in new product development. Then go figure out how.
There are many other excuses that we hear, but they’re just that: excuses. Investing time and money into generating product ideas is a necessity if your company is going to survive and grow. Make it a priority for your company.
Impulse Product Development is a team of experienced product development professionals based in Indianapolis, Indiana. We’ve helped many clients work through the challenges of generating new product ideas. If you would like to discuss how we can help you with generating new product ideas, please contact us today.

Source: Outsourcing Design
Author: Troy