Developing innovative products & services

Published on March 31, 2024   8 min
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I'm Joe Tidd and I'm Professor of Technology and Innovation Management at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, UK. In this section, we'll be looking at the factors that influence the success and failure of innovative products and services.
Successful product development is not easy. It's not simply about asking users what do they want next. Because users will tend to frame products and services in terms of what they currently experience. They generally don't have knowledge of what is possible and therefore the potential for innovation.
Even the best and most experienced companies get product development wrong. That's the nature of the process. For example, Apple has many successes, so does Google. However, both companies have made big mistakes in terms of products and services in the past. So we have to understand what factors influence product success and failure.
The success rate is actually quite low for new product development. However, it varies very much by different sectors. For example, in consumer to consumer markets, generally it's several thousand to one, but in other sectors, it may be many times more that.
We want to look at three related factors. One is, what do we know about the factors that make products successful or fail? Secondly, what processes do we have to successfully develop new products and services? Finally, we need specific tools and techniques to help us support product development.
First, we'll look at the success factors, which are derived primarily from systematic research. If we look at the research over the last four or five decades, we find there are three groups of factors that explain most of the variance between successful and unsuccessful products and services. The first are products advantage, the second, clear market definition, and the third, pre-development activities, and we're going to unpack each of these in turn.