What to Know About the Product Development Process

New product development is crucial for business growth and success in today’s competitive market. Companies constantly look for ways to innovate, create new products, and stay ahead of the competition. The process of bringing a new product to market involves various stages, such as idea generation, market research, design and development, testing, and launch. It requires collaboration between different departments within a company and input from customers and stakeholders to ensure that the final product meets their needs and expectations.

Innovation plays a key role in new product development as companies evolve and adapt to changing consumer preferences and market trends. By introducing new products or improving existing ones, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors, attract new customers, and increase their market share. Additionally, new product development allows companies to explore untapped markets and expand their offerings to meet the diverse needs of consumers. Successful new product development is essential for businesses looking to grow and thrive in today’s dynamic business environment.

Whether you’re part of a product team or a product developer with an entrepreneurial spirit, finding partners who catch your vision and for your future product is important. First, let’s review the steps you’ll take to develop a marketable product.

New Product Development Process Overview

Diving into the thrilling process of crafting new products leads to various paths before reaching the ultimate destination. With each company adding its own flair, six crucial stages are waiting to reveal the enchantment of product development!

Idea Generation and Research

Idea generation is a crucial aspect of product development, as it sets the foundation for creating innovative solutions that address market needs. Companies engage in brainstorming sessions and product discovery activities to identify opportunities for improvement or new product ideas. Through market research, trend analysis, and customer feedback, you will gain valuable insights into consumer preferences and pain points. 

The second stage in new product development involves evaluating and selecting ideas based on factors such as target audience benefits, product improvements, technical feasibility, and marketing potential.

Concept Development and Testing

Once an idea has successfully passed the research stage, it is important to develop it into a concept that clearly outlines the target market, features, benefits, price, and estimated product costs. This detailed description or blueprint of your idea helps to give a clear direction on how to successfully bring the product to market. Developing alternative product concepts also allows for a comparison of each concept’s attractiveness to customers, enabling businesses to choose the concept that provides the highest value to consumers.

Prototyping and Product Development

During the prototyping phase, designers and engineers work together to create a sample product that embodies the key features and functionalities of the final product. This prototype gives stakeholders a tangible representation of their vision, allowing them to assess its feasibility, functionality, and user experience. By creating a minimum viable product (MVP), companies can reduce risks associated with mass production by quickly testing and validating their ideas before committing significant resources.

Learn more about how Popfoam supports product developers in the prototyping and development stage.

Test Marketing

Once the design is complete, it is important to solicit initial feedback from all stakeholders. Their input can help identify areas for improvement and refine the design further to create a high-quality product for launch. Revising the product design based on feedback until all parties are satisfied leads to a better result and fosters a sense of ownership and commitment among team members. This may be a challenging endeavor. However, it’s important to remember the goal is to create a product your target audience will love. By ensuring that everyone is happy with the final design before moving forward with development and launch, you increase the likelihood of success in meeting customer needs and expectations.

Product Launch

The final stage is the most exciting because it’s finally time to bring your finished products to market. Launching a new product involves strategic planning to make a successful first impression. Your marketing strategy should focus on connecting with potential customers. However, a successful launch involves sales, marketing, HR, and legal teams for messaging alignment, opportunity identification, and regulatory compliance.

Now that we’ve outlined your product roadmap, we’re sharing advice on successfully transitioning from the idea stage to product development. 

Bullet Proof Design Tips & Tricks For Product Developers

Here are just a few things that can help to reduce mistakes, oversights, and other problems as you clarify the materials you’ll use to develop your product.

1. Know Your Materials Cold

First, it is important to know and understand the limits of the materials you use. Some design problems happen from materials being asked to do things they can’t do in places they should not be. 

As a designer, you can get ahead of potential issues with technical research during the development stage. Don’t take anyone’s word that the material will perform a certain way. They are not the ones who will get that dreaded call if issues arise. You will!

Sometimes, lower-quality or second-rate materials are used on your product without your knowledge. The best way to prevent this is to work with companies with reputable track records. When choosing materials it’s important to consider your customer. Products made from durable materials cost more, but the trade-off is that consumers don’t need to continue replacing broken items.

Saving money is great, but it’s a problem if the savings compromise the quality of the product. If your product can’t be built for the right price with quality materials, you may have the wrong design.

2. Know When to Push Back

Many designers start the design development stage with a set of requirements outlined by a manager, a client, etc. 

As you begin developing your concept, you will discover that you can’t achieve everything on the checklist. If you try and force a set of preconceived criteria onto a development you might end up with a product that already exists, a poor-quality design, or both!

At the end of the day, it’s your job to take all the program goals and turn them into a mass-produced product. Your design must also meet customer expectations when it comes to product performance and cost. This is a tall order! Ultimately, your job is to realize when program goals get in the way of end results. 

Part of your job during the research phase of product development is to figure out how to design the best product without compromising. This may mean pushing back on the initial goals and explaining why an initial idea isn’t feasible. 

3. Pushing the Limits of Manufacturing Often Causes Problems

As designers, you want awesome material finishes. You also want the user interface created with perfect parts and shapes exactly as you designed them – without exception. This can be hard to do in manufacturing and may take more time and money. The last thing you want is to have the main elements of the design removed or changed in the later stages of the development process because they are too difficult to execute.

During the concept development and testing stage, spend time ensuring you are clear on expectations. Ultimately, if the product can’t achieve the right margins, it won’t survive. There is no such thing as a successful product that costs too much to build. It’s better to choose the right materials and manufacturer the first time rather than spend time redesigning or compromising the quality of the products.

4. Don’t Believe Everything You’re Told

This last tip is helpful for pretty much everything in life! Designers need to be highly observant. Remember, you are also the only one who has visibility from the very first vision to the final product landing in the customer’s hands. In order to manage this, you need to continue asking questions. If you are relatively new to design, start reading anything and everything you can find. 

Align yourself with smart people in other product development disciplines and learn from them. Ask them when you have questions, and then use their answers for your research. Use your curiosity to enhance your process with design; ask, research, and repeat. 

The Importance of a Hard Day’s Work

Great products don’t just happen. They take dedicated people who really want to make a difference. Great products demand that you consider every detail. In the end, producing an awesome product is a team effort. Ready to ensure your next product lives up to all your expectations? Download The Ultimate Guide to EVA Injection Foam Molding to learn more.