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Designing products that sell

Only 1 in 20 new products actually succeeds.

Whether you’re designing software, soap or surgical equipment, the chance of failure is high.

To develop and sell a successful product requires the perfect recipe of innovation, iteration, hard work and luck. Here are three keys to developing new products:

1. Solve real problems
Innovation occurs as a result of solving the most fundamental problems. The most prolific productdesigners such as those at IDEO follow people around and watch how they cook, clean and get things done.

Consider every step in the usage of a product or service. Conduct a value chain analysis.

Tap into user groups, customer advisory boards and other methods for gathering data before diving into concept design. Study buyers and their actual application of a product carefully.

2. Nail the key assumptions from the beginning
Key assumptions about a product or service are often flawed, and not challenged until it’s too late. Assess materials and cost structures, legal hurdles, target price points and target channels from the beginning.

3. Insist on painstaking coordination with departments
There can be a lack of coordination across departments such as design, development, marketing and sales. Gain stakeholders’ input from the beginning and agree on the steps and success criteria.

Think critically before going down the costly and time-consuming path of new product development.

Your sales, growth and company’s future may depend on it.

Have a great week.

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