Designers and Engineers around the world are working hard to dream up and invent new products, but only a small fraction of these will ever see the light of day and become successful. If creating a new product is so fundamentally challenging, how can you mitigate risk to ensure that your product ideas have a chance of flourishing and surviving?
A few strategies for identifying and evaluating new product opportunities that have proved to be effective are:
- Solving an important problem
- Developing a new technology
- Taking advantage of an expiring patent
- Building something to enhance or support an existing product
- Extending a product or service you already offer
- Improving an existing product or design created by someone else
In this article, we’ll explore each of these paths and dig into real-world examples to show how these strategies have been utilized by both small businesses and large established corporations. Starting With a Problem
A product can only become successful if someone buys it, and the likelihood of that happening is higher if the product solves an important problem for the buyer. One of the best ways to begin identifying a problem worth solving is to examine the problems you yourself have.
Finding a problem that you personally encounter has the advantage of validating that the problem actually exists. All too often, a company will create a product to solve a problem no one has. When taking a problem first approach, it’s a good rule of thumb to examine four things:
- Is this a problem you yourself have?
- Can you build something yourself to solve it?
- Are there a few others who realize the value in solving this problem?
- How much would people be willing to pay for a solution?