To stay relevant in a competitive market, companies need a continuous stream of new ideas to develop into new products. Each idea should be considered and screened to choose those that should move on to concept development. Idea screening is an integral part of new product development, and we’re going to discuss precisely what it is and how to execute it for the best results.
Idea screening is the process of evaluating new product ideas early on in the development process to ensure that they meet business objectives and customer expectations. This critical process reduces the risks associated with new product development by focusing on an idea with a higher probability of success.
There are a few reasons businesses use idea screening in their product development strategy:
Not every product idea your team comes up with is going to fit the needs of your customers, be possible for your business, or even be a good option. Idea screening allows you to identify the most promising ideas for development.
Rather than go in several directions with ideas, use idea screening to focus your efforts and investments on the ideas with the most promise.
Once you’ve identified your target market for your conceptual product, you can validate whether the members of your niche group are interested and have a need for your product.
Now that we’ve discussed the value of idea screening, let’s talk about the process.
Before you can begin to screen, you must gather product ideas from multiple stakeholders, teams, and customers. Consider what customer needs you can meet, the urgency of those needs, the current landscape of products that meet those needs, and whether you absolutely have to create it, regardless of the market.
Review negative customer feedback for your current products, including complaints, to assess against your new idea. Does the idea address any of the complaints or problems?
This is the time to generate as many ideas as possible before you begin to eliminate product concepts that don’t align with your business objectives or screening criteria. Choose your screening criteria carefully. If you drop a product off your list too early, you may miss an opportunity. If you develop an idea that isn’t sound, you waste time and financial investment resources.
For your product to be successful, it needs to be screened against specific criteria based on the needs of your target market and your company.
Examples of criteria to be used in screening each idea:
Before you move a product from the idea stage to production, carry out qualitative and quantitative research to provide information about how your target market feels about your idea, as well as facts and statistics to support your conclusions.
You’ve put together your ideas and performed your market research. It’s time to take the ideas that have made it through your screening and refine them into concepts. This means taking the idea and outlining the technical aspects so that your stakeholders and teams can review and understand it.
Using computer-aided design (CAD), photorealistic renderings, animation, sketches, drawings, and physical mockups will help others to visualize the finished product.
Next, you’ll move on to concept testing. The most common type of concept testing uses surveys to evaluate how consumers will receive a product concept before it goes to market. Ultimately, concept testing will either confirm that you have a great product idea or will help you avoid investing in a concept that won’t work for your market. Find out how Helix Sleep used SurveyMonkey products to concept test and launch their new pillow successfully. Use our ultimate guide to concept testing to learn more about doing it on your own.
Agile market research, like they used in the Helix Sleep example, is the process of gathering consumer feedback quickly and iteratively so you can gather data to make informed decisions with confidence. When you test your product concept with agile market research, you can find out your target market’s opinions and evolve and change the product as needed prior to launch.
In addition to product optimization, concept testing can reveal the importance of various product features as well as price sensitivity for the new product.
Of course, concept testing isn’t limited to your product concept. You can also use it to test consumer reaction to logo design, product or brand name, product claims and messaging, and your packaging.
With all of your concepts tweaked and confirmed by data, your product launch will be a great success. And, you can measure that success with brand tracking.
When you’re in the idea screening phase, there are several questions you should take into consideration as you decide which ideas are viable.
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