Innovation for Product development

I have been reading lately about product development and innovation wanted to write a bit on that with a honest and simple approach.

I remember a conference from ex IKEA Chairman Anders Dahlvig, where he remarked two clear concepts that any company should focus , product (develop your own products designed by you always) and the handling of the supply chain. And what makes your difference with the competitors in product development is innovation.

Many companies do not see innovation as a key contributor to success. But the lack of innovation is a key contributor to fail, one clear example of it is NOKIA. A company that leaded the phone market in the 00’s, that missed the smartphone era and now will struggle to catch it with the new Lumia, when Samsung and apple are leading the market (see Article). Same applies to HTC. Innovation is always applicable, never stop innovating.

It is important to differenciate in the others, do not copy do not think your range of products will be valid forever. You need to innovate, make new product, connect your marketing department with your R&D, I know is repetitive the Apple example, but companies that advance themselves to customer demands they get a better market quote that the ones that follow the market. Be the first in a product.

This is quite clear in the Applications for mobiles development, one of the most competitive market right now. The trends is always to create applications for activities that we did not expect to do before or even thought it was interesting to do. It is all about dreams, new ideas, etc.. Technology changes are there, take your own profit from technology in your product development. Innovate in using a technology, be the first to use it.

The case of the apps is good because apps are bringing down technology to common people, let’s explain this, Android is a free software by google that has three ways of innovating, the users, the apps developers and google itself. So you can be part of the technology era, you can develop an app for your business, with a reasonable low price and a good market approach. Stay connected with your customers.

On the roadblock to product development, we find that the life-time from our products and life cycle is everyday shorter and shorter. You need to be fast and lean in your product development. Be flexible to use current products lines for the new ones optimizing costs, be flexible to create a new product totally different than the others with just a small modification or adaptation from a existing one (in this the automotive industry is quite advanced with the car plattforms).

Back to the point in innovation, the new trend in innovation is to introduce the combination of sustainability in the innovation process. Sustainability in innovation demands optimisation in global through all process of raw material, process and wastes, energy usage, etc.. A global evaluation. If you are able to create new products using less CO2 emissions, more environmental products, less wastes, etc.. you will take the lead. Not only about a classified “ECO-friendly” product, but a probably more advanced product with less cost and longer life. Never forget that sustainability is part of everything in our lifes. Also, the more and more importance is the sustainability in the supply chain. Use local suppliers if possible, materials in packaging, cost of CO2 transportation, etc.. Change your mentality into green.

Finally as a conclusion, There are multiple examples of success that when you scratch in the surface of successful stories about companies, you will realize that the product development is there and always innovation has been a key contributor. So never question the fact of innovation, and always concentrate in use the best technology to create your own best class products, the more advanced you can to the market.

To summarize concepts in Product Development I have read this week:
– Innovation is always applicable, never stop innovating.
– Be the first in a product.
– Anticipate to Market needs.
– Innovate in using a technology, be the first to use it.
– Stay connected with your customers.
– Make the product development cycle time fast.
– Sustainability in innovation: change to green your R&D.

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