In today's new product development environment, companies should incorporate external input options as part of concept screening tests.
When your company currently screens its new product concepts, it likely assumes a given technology will be employed to deliver the promised consumer benefits. Much more emphasis is likely placed on getting the benefit/feature positioning language right than on evaluating consumer reaction to potential technology alternatives. That is certainly a reasonable approach, but I also think it is potentially limiting.
In today's open innovation environment, I feel that companies should test viable technology options to help them form a basis for opening discussions with prospective business partners. Importantly, doing so can also help companies to decide how important a given external technology is to the concept's overall consumer appeal and can inform how to attach value to it relative to other viable alternatives, especially when the technical differences are relatively modest. Here's a hypothetical example:
Acme Healthcare Company is looking to evaluate consumer interest in a new, natural product to treat IBS. They have technically evaluated their options and have rank ordered them for efficacy. In concept testing, Acme would ordinarily use a place-holder for the technical reason to believe. However, in testing technology alternatives, they learn that consumers are very interested in a concept that uses omega fish oil, based largely on its strong reputation and use in personal care products. They are significantly less interested in a concept that employs hydrolyzed white fish protein, despite this material being technically superior to omega fish oil. Knowing this, Acme can now decide how much emphasis to place on acquiring access to the omega fish oil, and how to value it relative to the fish protein.
Does this topic sound like it could be relevant to your new product team? If so, please contact me to discuss.
"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.