Product development is not as easy as it sounds. There are many steps involved in coming up with a new product that threatens to disrupt the way business is currently being done. Some of the steps have been listed below. However, before plunging in it is important to note that product development is very different from manufacturing. In manufacturing, nothing new is being made. It is just a series of repetitive tasks that are repeated day in day out. In new product development, an entire way of doing things is created and designed. There are no repetitive tasks involved, apart from the thought processes which end up following the same track.
1) Generating ideas
This is the first step that is common in any product development process. People have to sit down in a group (or sometimes individually) and brainstorm. The thought process involved here deals with coming up with new ways of serving people better. It also involves listing down the problems that people have when accessing goods and services. Outlining these needs will go a long way in helping your team come up with ideas that are aimed at providing solutions for the needs and problems that society faces. When taken to its logical conclusion, this thought process might also lead to the emergence of an entirely new business, instead of just a new product.
2) Screening the ideas
After generating many ideas, the logical step to take is to scrutinize and scan those ideas to see which ones could be feasible and which ones should be shelved for later. It is important to realize that we live in a world of scarcity. Money and time are scarce resources and it would not be wise to focus both resources on ideas which will not come up with an effective solution to problems that many people in society face. Otherwise, if this mantra is ignored, you will end up creating products that only serve ten people in the market. The business will not end up making a profit and the massive losses incurred in the product development phase will cripple the entire company.
3) Laying out the process for product development
After the idea has been screened and passed for its market viability, a focus group will have to be prepared to lay out all the steps that are going to be taken to create the product that the idea has envisioned. Suppliers of parts needed have to be contacted and dealt with in a timely manner. Patents might have to be filed in order to protect the development process and the product itself. All these are processes that take time. As such, planning for them in advance will help the owners and financiers of the idea know how long the new product development will take.