Creating the Case for Needs Identification and Idea Screening

Published Sep 09, 2021

Debbie Senior, VP, Product Automation

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There is a well-known statistic from Harvard Business School which states that, of the 30,000+ new products introduced each year, 95% of them fail.

There are many reasons why this might happen, and there is no ‘magic bullet’ for success. However, to give your products/services a fighting chance, you must ensure that consumers are heard early in the process and placed at the center of your product development plans at each key phase of the NPD lifecycle.

Whilst many brands are familiar with conducting concept, pack, price testing, and more, it is the earlier stages of the NPD process—such as needs identification and idea screening—that are often overlooked, yet critical to setting you on the right path.

These phases help you find out what makes consumers tick. What are their needs and priorities? How are these changing over time? Are they influenced by trends? Where are their needs unfulfilled by existing options on the market? Understanding these opportunity gaps will enable you to develop new ideas and concepts that have a closer fit and a better chance of success.

In the past, these early phases were deemed too expensive, too slow, and altogether unnecessary due to internal teams feeling they had a handle on the consumer view. These barriers no longer hold true. The speed of change due to technology, as well as the proliferation of choices, has made keeping up with consumers more of a necessity than ever. And now, needs and idea testing can be done online in a quick, cost-effective manner with the use of automated and templated approaches.

Creating and launching needs identification and idea screening surveys is easy; you just need to bear a few things in mind

1. Because this is the start of the NPD lifecycle, there could be a relatively high number of needs or ideas generated. You need to make sure your survey can handle the number of items you need to test, and that it can manage the respondent experience properly (i.e. each person only sees a randomized selection of items to avoid poor quality/fatigue).

2. The stimulus you test is quite likely to be short, simple text or imagery. In our view, you only need to know a few key insights. Is the need/idea relevant? Is it different? Is it believable? Does it fit the brand?

3. If the results of your needs/ideas rank highly on this combination of KPIs, then they are worthy of further consideration and development. If you want to add a more exploratory angle and some richness to the data, online qualitative options are also easily added.

Key advantages to online research


Another key advantage of conducting research online—besides speed, cost, and quality—is the ability to bring your internal stakeholders closer to consumers. They can observe qualitative forums/discussions and they can access data in easy-to-read, visual formats, both in real-time. Ultimately, this enables them to take quicker and more confident actions from the insights.

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