Entering the development and implementation stage for a new innovation can come with mixed feelings – on one hand “Yippee it got this far!” on the other, an experienced innovator knows that the coming months may involve many barriers, complications and compromises being thrown in the path of actually realising a top scoring concept.
In our experience, the best way to preserve the potential success of your product or service innovation, is by being clear to yourself and your stakeholders on the following:
What are my must haves?
Know the criteria by which the product will almost certainly fail if they are missing. Let’s propose for a moment that we are developing a face cream innovation. It could be that one of the imperatives is that the name of the product needs to convey the benefit very clearly, whilst still feeling aspirational and engaging emotionally.
The name that hypothetically came out top in concept development might be something like ‘Illuminese’, but if you know the principles of what the name needs to convey, then if legal suddenly tell you that the tested name is off limits, you can re-work a new name that has a high chance of succeeding, such as ‘Lumesque’ or ‘Glowfique’.
Knowing and communicating why an aspect of the product is vital or essential will engage your stakeholders to make it happen and keep it on track.
What are my nice to haves?
In some cases, there is an ideal solution but other options may suffice. Know where you have room to wriggle and how far that can go. Ensure you are clear to yourself and your stakeholders on any implications of these compromises. Also what the compensations (if any) are required to mitigate the risk of not going with the ideal?
In our face cream example, consumers may prefer a white cream with a light fragrance, but when pushed, you could find that an off-white cream with no fragrance may not be a deal breaker for them. This is usually because these concept elements are lower down the engagement ranking for consumers. Of course, you’d always start out striving for your ideal, but in this case, it’s good to have a compromise in your back pocket if your product development team happens to encounter any hurdles along the way.
What must I avoid?
The best way to think about it this: if you dropped off the planet tomorrow what assumptions or compromises could others make about the product that could derail it?
It may be that a tube or jar pack format would instantly turn consumers off. They are perceived to be old fashioned which is incongruous with the revolutionary experience they are expecting.
So getting all of this clarity documented and communicated will provide clear guidelines to the rest of the business – just in case you do fall off the planet!