Updated
  
26
 
Dec
 
2020
Published
 
5
 
Jun
 
2019

Ideas generation insight

New ideas are becoming a necessity for business continuity. This guide should help you ace the idea generation process.
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A number of people might find it helpful to have a clear process on how to move forward, including innovators with great ideas, start-ups new to prototyping, and companies new to product design. Companies need to ensure their continued existence when their existing line of products have matured and saturated the market. The need for new product design development arises. Many companies undertake the process, but not all of them manage to get their products manufactured. It is a process where success is an uphill battle and needs to be done with the appropriate engineering design steps to increase the design solution success.

There are so many things to understand, from consumers, markets, competitors and so much more if the goal is to produce a quality product. In general, most companies will follow the below steps in the product development process to get their product manufactured and bring it to market.

Having an idea is nothing if you do not know how to put an idea into production. Now that you know what it takes to bring an idea to life,  you can get the product manufactured. This will not only allow you to create a company but also ensure its continued existence.

People use products, such as electric devices, every single day, sometimes without ever stopping to appreciate how they came to be. Someone worked to bring the idea to life and managed to get their product manufactured in order to improve the lives of thousands and possibly millions. Everyone can formulate ideas in their head all the time, but not all know how to make them a reality. Steps below shows how one can bring ideas to life.

One of the most amazing things about creating something from scratch is the transition from nothing to something. It is fascinating – the capacity for developers to build something from their imagination with no clear precedents and responding to a specific set of objectives.

The design process is very important in coming up with a quality product that will be marketable and guarantee the success of the company. Designing a product that satisfies market needs guarantees the continued existence of a company. The design process has a number of processes that need to be carefully followed in order to come up with a great product.

New ideas generation criteria

The first step in the design journey is the process of coming up with feasible product ideas. The designer pools a number of ideas before picking the best idea to work on. When coming up with ideas, the designer must keep in mind the customer's requirements, product analytics, target market needs as well as current market trends. Once the designer has the perfect idea after taking all that into consideration, they can now move to the next step.

Make sure you write down everything that is important to your idea. This includes things like what it is, what it does, the target audience and how it will be marketed to consumers. These things are important when you want to bring an idea to life, as well as when forming the business plan to show investors and getting a patent.

NPD always starts with idea conceptualisation, which means brainstorming great product ideas. The aim of this exercise is to innovate and usually leads to hundreds and even thousands of product ideas. At this stage, the company looks internally and externally, spending hours braining storming to come up with ideas to evaluate.

Not all product ideas will be worth pursuing, and the bad ones need to be filtered out from the good. This is the whole point of the idea evaluation stage, which involves screening each idea until there is only a handful of them left. This step is crucial to find out which products are worth pursuing and will contribute to the company’s growth and profitability.

When it is time to start a product development project, you will probably come up with a couple of ideas. Not all of them will be great ideas, which is expected when you are trying to bring innovative products on the market. This means it leaves you with one question of which idea out of the bunch to put into production.

This is not an easy decision to make. As we all know, not all products that are launched become successful. And a majority of product ideas that people dream up never grace the market with their presence. If you were to take the thousands of product ideas in existence right now, you will probably find that only one of them became successful.

What is it that made that one product better than the others? As any brilliant innovator will tell you, you need to have criteria that can filter the good ideas from the bad ones. With that said, here are a few things you need to consider when choosing a product idea.

Utility

One cannot launch a product on the market if there is no need for it. Consumers only buy products that they need or want because they find that it offers them some sort of utility. Without that, you basically have no demand for your product. It would then be pointless to develop a product no one wants to buy at the end of the day.

Uniqueness

The competition will always be there in any market – it is just a constant in the business world. This means if you release a product that is a carbon copy of what your competitors are offering, you significantly decrease the chances of people choosing yours over theirs. To make your product idea stand out, it needs to be unique. If you can make a product that doesn’t directly compete with others, the better chance of survival it has.

Usability

People like products that are easy to use. This means the learning curve to bring the utility out of it should not be steep. A good principle would be to take away the complexity from the user’s end and work on something that is user-friendly. No one can appreciate the utility of something they cannot use all that well.

Appeal

If your product can fulfil the practical need of your target consumers, then it can easily become appealing to them. But that is not all there is to it; some people are also looking for something that fulfils their needs on an emotional level. By making sure your product idea is emotionally appealing as well, you can enhance its utility.

New ideas generation tips

When you come up with a great idea for a product, not only can you manufacture something that will sell great on the global market, but also transform people's lives for the better. But coming up with a great idea is not easy and requires a lot of dedication to produce the necessary criteria that will aid you in deciding which ideas are worth pursuing. Here are five tips that can help you think up new ideas for your next product development project.

Free your mind

Regardless of how hard coming up with great ideas is, for many people, the biggest hindrance is their own mentality. It starts off with thinking they are not that creative; a thought that creates a mental roadblock and prevents any idea from passing through and reaching its full potential. Here is the truth: idea generation is not a skill that is only available to the select few; it is something that is available to everyone, as long as they can dissuade themselves from the thought that they are not creative.

Brainstorm ideas

Start by looking into your target consumers – what problems they are currently facing – and think about what products can help them solve their problems. Sit down (alone or with your team) and make a broad list of ideas without worrying about the minute details (you will flesh these out later on). After you come up with these product ideas, narrow it down to the ones you think will make great products.

Look at existing products

No idea is 100 per cent unique and everyone needs some inspiration. That is why it is a good idea to look at the current products that are meeting the needs of your target consumers and learn from them. You should not copy another company’s product but look at what makes it good, how it benefits the other company and how what you have learned could benefit your business. After that, you can aim to create a unique product based on the information you have uncovered.

Talk to people

If you want to come up with a great product that will help people, one of the best ways to go about it is to just go ask the people. Listen to their experiences and takedown noteworthy stuff that you can reflect upon in your next brainstorming session.

Take your time

If the idea generation session is not yielding any fruits that day, do not force it. Sometimes, great ideas do not just come at once, but take some time to marinate in the brain. You might even be surprised that during the next session, ideas are just flowing with ease. So do not be discouraged if you come out of a session with nothing to show for it. Rather, always be prepared to take advantage of ideas when they do come, especially if they come in waves. Even if the idea seems dumb at the time, write it down; do not focus too much on wanting to come up with a great idea.

Following the above-mentioned tips will get you closer to coming up with a great idea. Idea generation is the first step when it comes to new product development, and taking it seriously is the best way to ensure success on the local, national and global markets.

If you like what you read so far, we hope you can consider getting a custom research tailored to your business needs from us. Check out our research and development pricing here.

New ideas feasibility study

Next, the company needs to know if they have feasible product ideas on their hands by conducting a feasibility study. To determine if they have a feasible product, the company has to evaluate the product idea financially and operationally. Not only that, looking at the feasibility of idea allows the company to determine the risks involves and take measures to minimise them.

An idea can seem great but when all is said and done, it is not feasible. That is why it is important to gauge the idea feasibility early on before any capital investment is made. The analysis should take into consideration measuring the level to which the idea implementation will solve the problem it was initially created to fix. This could be done against a set of requirements identified when the idea was conceived.

Before they bring an idea to life, the company needs to determine if doing so will satisfy its overall objectives, which means there is a  need for business analytics. This is where the company’s business analysts come up with projections in terms of cost, sales and profit.  The analysed data is then sent up the management chain for a decision to be made on whether to go forward with the project or not.

Products that are complex can be hard to develop – not to mention costly to manufacture. Basically, this can happen when too many custom components are used or if the product spends a long time in development. The best option would be to take the product idea and conduct a feasibility study to make sure undertaking such a product development project is practical.

Profitability

Sometimes, you can have competing ideas, but not all of them can bring in the same amount of revenue. It makes sense from a business perspective to choose a product idea that is the most lucrative. Although this may not be easy to do, it is something that can literally pay off in the end.

Scalability

If there is one thing that will happen over the course of time is that the needs of consumers will change. What they found useful today might be obsolete tomorrow – that is just how consumer behaviour works. This is why you need to pick a product idea that is scalable. That is to say that if the users start demanding more from your product, you can increase its capabilities to meet their demand.

With the above criteria in mind, you can significantly increase the chances of turning your next product idea into a success story. Product ideas are plenty, but not all of them have the same chances of taking the market by storm. By doing a thorough analysis, you can make sure you select a winning idea.

Availability

Prior art is any evidence that the idea is already known. It does not need to exist physically or be commercially available, previously being described can be enough. However, where a prior art exists does not always constitute a barrier against its use.

Sometimes the idea has already been deployed without legal backing like a patent, in such case, it is sometimes feasible to use the same idea with little to no modifications. Although, it might be wise to make sure the idea was not well protected for a good reason, e.g. being unfeasible.

It pays to conduct prior art research to make sure you do not infringe on others rights, but also to get inspiration from previous works and try to go the extra mile instead of reinventing the wheel. This is especially helpful for bigger companies who can afford royalties to use innovative developed ideas.

"GOOD IDEA" written on a green chalkboard

New ideas into products steps

Taking a product from idea to production can seem daunting. However, it need not be, as product development can be lean. There is no need to shy away from it thinking it is overly complicated and there’s no clear road map. Over the years – through trial and error – people have discovered that you can take your product from concept to reality by following a few simple steps.

Step 1: Come up with an Idea

Ideation is where it all begins – the journey to get your product manufactured. This is the step where creativity plays an important role to come up with sketches that capture your idea in the best light. Not only that, but it is also where you come up with a business model, identify your consumers and assess your resources, risks and opportunities.

Step 2: Conduct market research

Is there a demand for your product in your target market? Before you bring an idea to life, this question must be answered. And the only way to answer it is to analyse your competitors and speak with your target consumers to gather useful data. That way, if similar products exist in the market, you can find out how to make yours better and gain a competitive advantage.

Step 3: Design the product

After you finish your market research, you can now start designing a product that consumers will find useful. During product design, you need to make sure it addresses a few issues. Particularly, one needs to address the product’s utility in regard to both consumers and the company, quality, durability, reliability, cost of manufacturing and manufacturing feasibility.

You can come up with designs using computer-aided design (CAD) software, which helps you come up with a 3D model of your product. Using this software, you can identify problems inherent in the design and fix them before prototyping. That way, you ensure you come up with good product design.

Step 4: Create a prototype

With your design in hand, you can come up with a product prototype. This helps you answer one of your biggest questions: how will the product function in the real world? At this point, you can easily go back to the design stage and make further improvements. If you discover problems like these after the product has already been manufactured, it can be extremely costly.

Step 5: Get the product manufactured

At this step, you are ready to produce the final product that will be ready for the market. Manufacturing costs will be directly related to the complexity of the product. This is where using standard components can be an advantage – standard components in manufacturing can bring down costs. Keeping manufacturing costs down is essential if you wish to enjoy a larger share of the profits.

Step 6: Test the product

Now that you have gotten your product manufactured, you need to test it before the big launch. You can consider this as a soft launch, which can also give you an opportunity to build up demand in the process. Even though you have what you consider the final product in your hands, it does not mean there is no room for further improvements. By listening to consumer feedback, you can make adjustments to make sure the product is line with consumer needs.

Step 7: Launch the product

A product cannot be tested forever, meaning at some point, you have to launch it as soon as it is at the “good enough” stage. This is where all your marketing efforts start to pay off. Your goal should be to sell more of the product so that you can achieve growth and profitability. At the same time, it is prudent to still listen to what the market is telling you in regards to your product and re-visit the above-mentioned steps as needed.

As you can see, you can get your product manufactured in seven steps. While the process is not easy, it is not as hard as many people think. Great ideas can make for great products that can launch a business and ensure its continued existence. By following the steps outlined above, you can take your product idea from concept to reality.

Parts of this insight were first published 
as early as 
June 2019
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Prince Hassan

20+ years of experience in products research and development (R&D) and expert in design for manufacturing (DFM). Founder and CEO of DegreeSign.
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