Ideas from Research and Development

Ideas from Research and Development

Ideas from Research and Development

We have said that new product ideas do not just 'happen'. They are not the result of flashes of inspiration. They are developed as the result of painstaking research.

One of the first places to look for new ideas is within the company's own Research and Development Department. Here the logical, trained mind of the scientist, fertilized by a continuous study of technical literature, is at the disposal of the ONLINE MARKETING Manager in his quest for product innovation. The 'R & D man should be able to offer useful suggestions and advice with regard to quality improvements and design modifications. From his study of the advances made nationally and internationally by competitive producers, he should be able to make recommendations for the future technical development of the product. The ONLINE MARKETING Manager will be wise to listen to what his R & D colleagues are able to offer him, providing he keeps their suggestions in perspective. WE said earlier that one of the essentials for new product development was to be sure that the market was ready for it. Research technicians often see uses for a product-and for a service-well in advance of the rest of humanity. This is partially the result of their logical thinking and also of their absorption with the notion of technological progress. The ONLINE MARKETING Manager must keep his feet on the ground. He must resist being swept along too fast by the enthusiasm for innovation which often marks an adventurous mind among scientific-ally orientated people.

Ideas from the Production Department

In his search for new product ideas, the ONLINE MARKETING Manager may turn next to his production colleagues. At first sight they may not seem a fruitful source of innovation. Too often one thinks of production personnel as being obsessed solely with efficient plant utilization and the eradication of processes and procedures which conflict with the realization of this ideal. This is, however, to overlook the fact that, in translating the efforts of the drawing office into a feasible production item, the Works Manager and his staff must frequently exercise innovation. Above all, they will be able to bring their experience to bear upon the production-feasibility of new product ideas.

Ideas from the Sales Department

The sales department of the company is an obvious source of new product ideas. Both salesmen and customers may be canvassed for their opinions with a view to establishing a consumer need-and, therefore, a market-not met adequately by existing products.

A fruitful field for investigation is the file of complaints, received either from distributors or from consumers, with regard to the company's current products. They will tend to highlight the shortcomings of these products and act as indications for improvements or modifications.

Ideas from the Trade

The Trade is, of course, a major source of product ideas. All manufacturers examine, with avid interest, the new products of their competitors. This is not to copy slavishly the other man's ideas but to study the trend being followed by competitive products. Furthermore, no product is entirely superlative and a lot can be learned from an examination of the shortcomings of the competitive brand.

Ideas from Consumers

Finally, we come to the consumers: the men or the women who will use the product it is proposed to design, produce and market. They, above all, can tell the ONLINE MARKETING Manager what kind of new products are needed. Many of the most successful new product ideas have resulted from a study of novel applications to which current products are being put. The fact that a product is being used for a purpose for which it was not designed or by groups of people for whom it was not originally intended, indicates a consumer need not being met adequately by any existing products.

'Brainstorming' Techniques

A method of idea creation which has become popular in recent years is what is known as the 'brainstorming' technique. A number of people, drawn, perhaps, from the sales department, the research department and the ONLINE MARKETING department, are put together in one room and invited to come up with as many ideas as they can think of. There is no formal procedure. No minutes are taken. The whole atmosphere is kept as informal as possible with a view to provoking uninhibited exchanges of ideas.

To a limited extent some value can be derived from these sessions. In the ultimate, it is the quality of the minds thus brought to bear upon the problem which will decide whether or not the method is really productive.

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