Check out the short video summary (about 1 minute) then read on!
The last few years have brought tumult, upheaval, and an endless parade of changes to how we work and live. Business in the United States has shifted from small companies to large corporations. Technology has introduced a permanent “work-from-home” culture. Some people don’t even shop for their own groceries or go to restaurants or the cinema anymore!
Unprecedented change is scary. As individuals, we can prepare ourselves for desirable changes, like a new fitness routine or an extra-long vacation. But as a group, people often resist change. We want to know the benefits of change and one negative voice in the crowd introduces questions to all.
While debate is good and healthy for any society, product development professionals and product managers view debate and change through a different lens. How can we creatively address a new market need?
In new product development (NPD), we seek to introduce positive change into influence customers. Creative solutions to our customers’ problems help them to live better lives and to engage in their own businesses at a higher level. New product designs force change but success is the adoption of that change.
Creativity is defined as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas.” NPD practitioners and product managers are constantly looking for new ideas and concepts to solve problems in a new way. For example, e-bikes (electronic bicycles) are experiencing huge growth. The electric motor offers a creative solution for people who are not fit enough for cycling and for the elderly who still want to enjoy the outdoors.
Steps for Creativity in NPD
A typical NPD process includes the following steps.
- Understand the customers problem
- Generate ideas to solve the problem
- Create prototypes to test solution ideas
- Finalize the results and feedback
- Refine the product concept
We apply a variety of creative tools at each step to ensure the product development process advances. We also want to make sure that our customers accept and will adopt the proposed new product solution. For instance, e-bikes are much, much heavier than a traditional bicycle so people are less likely to travel with an e-bike.
Here are some creativity tools to apply in the traditional end process to gather customer feedback and lead to greater customer satisfaction.
- Customer shadowing, empathy map, journey map
- Brainwriting, affinity diagrams
- Wizard of Oz, paper prototypes, focus groups A/B testing
- Voice of customer, statistical analysis
- Product roadmap, feature releases, value stream mapping
Product Development Creativity
Product designers cannot sit still. Change is happening in tsunami steps all around us. We must adopt new technologies and generate creative solutions to help our customers. Learning and applying a set of creativity tools ensures we have a variety of new products available to release in the short-, medium-, and long-term to satisfy consumers across the spectrum. Creativity can be re-learned and practiced in everything we do every day.
Learn more in our free Product Development Lunch and Learn webinar on 9 May 2022, 12:00 pm CDT, 3 Creativity Tools. You might also be interested in our Deep Dive Creativity Workshop for Product Managers on 27 May 2022. Check out our course calendar here, register here for the free Product Development Lunch and Learn, and register here for the in-depth creativity workshop.
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