At a new workplace, it is important to prove people one’s professionalism. The new product development process requires its managers to be competent in different areas. The managers have to be able to identify customer needs and provide them with high-quality products based on the market demands. In order to answer the vice president’s questions, I would describe the main aspects of the new product development process and explain how it could apply to the new product idea presented.
Classification of the New Product
First of all, it is important to classify the types of the new product and their relation to the market. The first type is new-to-the-world products that are the first of their kind represented by a new discovery or as a result of manipulating existing technology in a different way (Trott 494). The next type is new-to-the-firm products or new product lines. New products lines are new to a certain company but not to the market, so the company enters a specific market with the said product (Trott 494). New product lines have a subset called additions to existing lines which are slightly different products to the ones a company already produces (Trott 494). Products classified as any of these types are new either to the market or to a company.
There are three more types that can be used to classify the new product. The first of these types refers to improvement and revisions of the existing products, for example, a renewed model of a current product (Trott 494). The next type, cost reductions, does not have new benefits other than reduces costs due to improved manufacturing processes or the use of different materials (Trott 495). The last type is repositioning, which refers to the products that can be applied differently from how they used to (Trott 495). These types of the new product are not new to the market or a company but rather modified, used, or produced differently.
Consumers and Stakeholders
One of the vital aspects of the new product development process is considering the interests of consumers and stakeholders which play a role in maximizing the probability of success. There are many ways to approach customers, but an original one is promoting a product as a way to overcome their struggles rather than focusing on their needs (Furnas). When it comes to stakeholders that impact the development process, they may be resistant to an idea of the new product. The ways to win the stakeholders and convince them of the importance of the product revolve around accepting their authority and understanding the cause of their negativity (Susanne Madsen, 00:00:36-00:01:46). It is important to ask the stakeholders for advice and be honest with them about the product (Susanne Madsen, 00:01:46-00:02:59). Consumers’ interest is the main focus of the new product, and stakeholders are crucial in the development process.
Business Model Canvas
The new product development process should rely on the Business Model Canvas. The Canvas consists of nine blocks, each representing an aspect impacting the development of the new product, including costs and revenue (Osterwalder, Business Model Generation 44). The Business Model Canvas helps to review new ideas as business model prototypes (Osterwalder, Business Model Generation 142). The final version of the Canvas results from discussions during which the participants decide what elements should appear on the Canvas and where these elements should be placed (Osterwalder, Business Model Generation 150). The Business Model Canvas can also be utilized with strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis to provide a more focused assessment (Osterwalder, Business Model Generation 216). The Business Model Canvas visually simplifies all the aspects of the new product development process.
Minimum Viable Product
Whether a product is viable can be determined by the concept of a minimum viable product or MVP. A minimum viable product is a concept aimed to test the interest in a product before it is fully produced (Osterwalder, Value Proposition Design 222). An MVP can also be defined as a model of a value proposition aimed to validate or invalidate a hypothesis (Osterwalder, Value Proposition Design 277). In other words, to decide whether a product is viable, it needs to be determined if the product can generate more revenue than costs (Bland 32). MVP defines the cost to design, create, and deliver a product (Bland 242). A product can be considered viable if it is proven to produce more revenue than its production costs.
Solar-Powered Electric Toothbrush
In order to answer the vice president’s questions, there needs to be research done on solar-powered electric toothbrushes. Such a toothbrush has already been invented and can be purchased on amazon.com by the brand Soladey (“SOLADEY 3”). With that being said, the idea is not new, so the vice president would not be able to get a patent on the product. If the consumer products company for which I have been hired does not produce any toothbrushes, then the solar-powered electric toothbrush could be classified as a new-to-the-firm or new product lines type of the new product. For the company to decide whether to produce this kind of toothbrush, it is essential to determine if the consumers would be interested in the product. Research shows that a solar-powered electric toothbrush is better at dental plaque removal than non-solar-powered electric toothbrushes (Sato 2). The toothbrush uses rotating, oscillating, or sonic action and consists of a solar-powered titanium oxide semiconductor, a non-toxic, stable, and inexpensive material (Sato 4). Although the idea of a solar-powered electric toothbrush is not innovative, it is relatively new to the market and may interest customers.
Since solar-powered electric toothbrushes already exist, the company would have to find ways to differ the manufacturing process or the brush’s characteristics to avoid making a copy of Soladey’s product. Soladey’s brushes use solar power, do not require toothpaste, and are long-lasting because when they spread, only one part needs to be replaced (“SOLADEY 3”). The Business Model Canvas can be used to provide a full assessment of the vice president’s idea and the possibilities of developing the product. For example, the company will have to find a manufacturer for the Key Partnerships block of the Canvas and determine the manufacturing process for the Key Activities block (Osterwalder, Business Model Generation 44). If, for the Key Resources, the company will use solar-powered titanium oxide semiconductors, then there will be a need to get a license (Osterwalder, Value Proposition Design 150). Because the Business Model Canvas is supposed to be filled during a discussion, it is advised for the vice president, her friends, and other participants of the development process to meet and assess the idea.
To answer the vice president’s questions, I would explain that the idea of a solar-powered electric toothbrush is not new but has the potential as a way to end customers’ struggles with dental plaque. However, the company would have to determine ways to differ from the similar products that are already on the market. To proceed with the idea, the participants of the development process should meet and use the Business Model Canvas to discuss key aspects and, based on that, determine the new product’s viability.
“Dealing with Difficult Stakeholders.” YouTube, uploaded by Susanne Madsen, 2016, Web.
“SOLADEY 3 – Ionic Solar Toothbrush.” Amazon.com, Web.
Bland, David, and Alexander Osterwalder. Testing Business Ideas. John Wiley & Sons, 2019.
Furnas, Josh. “Great Innovators Start with Customer Struggles (Not Customer Needs).” JTBD, 2017, Web.
Osterwalder, Alexander and Yves Pigneur. Business Model Generation. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
Osterwalder, Alexander, et al. Value Proposition Design. John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Sato, Takenori, et al. “Efficacy of a Solar-Powered TiO2 Semiconductor Electric Toothbrush on P. Gingivalis Biofilm.” American Journal of Dentistry, vol. 28, no. 2, 2015, pp. 81-84.
Trott, Paul. Innovation Management and New Product Development. Pearson, 2017.