Small Business Brief


What Is Product Innovation and Why Is It Important?

Everyone wants to be innovative. Yet very few people achieve true product innovation. 

More than 30,000 products are introduced to Americans every year. 95 percent of them fail. Companies don’t consider what business innovation is and they rush their products into the marketplace. 

Before you start running ads for your latest product, you need to stop and ask yourself a few questions. What is product innovation? What can you do to help your staff come up with innovative ideas? 

Here is your guide to answering those questions. 

What Is Product Innovation? 

Product innovation is the creation of a new way to solve a problem that consumers have. This can be a problem that others have tried to solve and failed. This can be a new problem entirely. 

There are three main components of an innovative product. The first is relevance. A product must connect to an audience and their concerns in a substantial manner. 

The second is quality. A product should be better than its competitors. It can be better because it is more usable or because it uses fewer parts. 

The third is obviousness. The uniqueness of the product should be apparent to someone who does not know the field of technology. They should know right away why they should buy the product. 

Innovation does not have to be the creation of an entirely new product. You innovate when you add a new feature or improve an old one on an existing product. Apple improving the quality of their iPhone cameras is product innovation. 

Innovation is critical to business success. You will distinguish yourself from your competition by providing advanced tools. You will reinforce your brand as intelligent and creative, encouraging consumers to buy from you.

What Is Product Design? 

Product design is a major component of product innovation. It relates to more than the literal design of a product. It involves identifying a market opportunity and then defining a problem that a product can solve. 

The process of designing a product begins with research. Designers consider what consumers are struggling with and what they want. Then they think about tools and materials that they can use to solve the problem. 

Designers begin brainstorming ideas. They sketch and talk with each other. Once they’ve narrowed things down to a few potential prototypes, they outline plans to make the product. 

They then make their prototypes. Each prototype gets tested, sometimes in focus groups with the public trying the products out. 

The designers can reform their products and come up with new prototypes. If one works really well, they can tell their supervisors to market and develop it. 

Tech Tools for Businesses

Businesses have many tools at their disposal to generate and develop technology. Most of them are free and right at their fingertips. 

The biggest free tool might be social media. Companies can poll and interview users on the problems they are facing. They can look at rival companies and see the technology they are developing, then come up with new ideas to compete with them. 

Google provides other tools. During the brainstorming process, it is important that designers remain in communication with each other. Google Drive allows communal editing of documents so designers can improve one another’s ideas. 

Zoom and Skype allow for video conferencing. Even in a remote setting, designers can demonstrate their concepts to each other. 

3D modeling software helps designers create virtual prototypes. Tools like SketchUp are great for big projects like architecture and building design. It is hard to prototype whole buildings unless you use a digital tool. 

To create visuals, designers can use Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud. Photoshop is the go-to tool of many graphic designers for decorations and exterior images. 

Conceiving Business Innovation 

There are many ways that a company and its designers can come up with new ideas. An important step in the creative process is to recognize that you’re stuck. 

Sit down and consider what has helped you come up with new ideas in the past. It may not be business-related. Many people come up with ideas while going out for a walk or spending time with family. 

Do those activities that you’ve done before. Take a piece of paper and a pen with you. When you come up with something, write it down right away. 

Ask yourself some questions about the technology in front of you. Ask, “Is there an easier way to do this? What would I do differently than this company?” 

Talk to people who are not in your line of work. Ask them questions about their experiences with your area. They may have solutions for a problem that you can use. 

Allow your employees to talk to each other. Provide multiple common spaces so they can sit and chat. The more conversation, the more creativity. 

You can innovate an existing product by improving the experience for a particular group of people. You can incorporate universal design concepts, helping people with disabilities use the product. Interview people from that group and see what you can do. 

Start Building Innovative Products

Product innovation is something every businessperson strives for. But few achieve it. 

What is product innovation? It is providing a product that is relevant, high-quality, and obvious to use. It involves walking through a process of product design, in which designers analyze a solvable problem. 

Tools like Google Drive and Adobe Creative Cloud help designers flesh out their ideas. You can come up with ideas by asking yourself questions and talking with your employers. 

Business success requires a lot of research. Get the facts you need by reading our business and technology guides.