Success in new product development (NPD) can be considered a general aim for any company wishing to survive in the 21st Century. It has been found that positive effects can result from the existence of formal “blueprints” and “roadmaps” of the NPD process. This chapter discusses numerous NPD processes which can assist a company to capture what it does, and follow a structured development route, from which it is possible to gain a better understanding of how to improve the development process, and thus reap the potential and tangible benefits. This chapter’s focus is at organisations that are considering implementing a new product development (NPD) process in order to improve repeatability and ultimately sustainability of their innovative capabilities, a necessary and vital component for survival. It aims to bring an understanding of the underlying characteristics that may contribute to a potential and successful outcome during the development process within organizations, through the adoption of a structured NPD process.
The New Product Development Process
The potential for innovation is considered to be a fusion of a perceived user needs and a technological opportunity for fulfilment of this need (Jenkins et al, 1997). Innovation is often used interchangeably with other words and phrases, or can be used with varying emphasis, depending upon the subjects that are under consideration (Hutlink and Hart, 1998). It has been discussed (Wright and Swain, 1995) that ‘innovation’ is a term invariably used by research and design people; ‘new product development’ is a phrase generally referred to more in marketing and management; and ‘design’ is a common word in engineering. However, to many who are embroiled in the act of NPD, they will note that the three have subtle, but important differences. There appears to be a hierarchy of activities that these phrases encompass. ‘Innovation’ can be considered as the unit of technological change and an invention, if one exists in the situation, it is part of the process of innovation (Harborne and Johne, 2003). New product development, for all intents and purposes, can be viewed as a slightly less radical phrase such that the development of a ‘new’ product does not have to involve innovation. New products are different from those, which already exist, in terms of major or minor changes (Noke and Radnor, 2004). The ‘newness’ may be new creations (such as original innovations; or products new to the world or new to the company); additions, improvements and revisions (with greater emphasis on particular values); repositioning of the product (e.g. novel ways to use it in a different market segment, or possibly the use of branding); or simply cost reductions (lower price, or improvement in through life costs) (Booz, Allen and Hamilton, 1991). Figure 1 illustrates a typology for product ‘newness’ categories. It is the product design and development that is the interest of this research. However, the driving force for this product innovation may be varied: anything from market and competitor action and reaction; information on customers’ needs; technical fine tuning of the process; or entrepreneurial inspiration.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Newness: ‘Newness’ may be new creations, such as original innovations; or products new to the world or new to the company. Additions, improvements and revisions, with greater emphasis on particular values. Repositioning of the product, for example, novel ways to use it in a different market segment, or possibly the use of branding. Cost reductions, lower price, or improvement in through life costs.
Innovation: “Innovation’ can be considered as the unit of technological change and an invention, if one exists in the situation, it is part of the process of innovation.
New Products: There are numerous definitions however one common similarity characterises a new product as ‘one not previously manufactured by a company’.
New Product Development: New Product Development (NPD) is the term used to describe the complete process of bringing a new product or service to market. There are two parallel paths involved in the NPD process: one involves the idea generation, product design, and detail engineering; the other involves market research and marketing analysis.
Product Development: The development of new, improved, or replacement product or service