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The complete processes outlined by the means and strategies employed in introducing new products and services to the market define new products development (NPD). The basic approaches of NPD are uniformly applied for all new products and services with considerations taken in relation to the prevailing aspects unique to the new product and their target markets (Brooke & Mills, 2003). Different products innovated within the last fifty years have used the NPD processes leading to their eventual success. Variations exist in their application as dictated by the market and by a larger extent, the set company policies and management practices. Aspects of the outlined NPD processes are projected, in full or partly, from the strategies employed by various companies through innovations of new products their introduction to the markets (Annacchino, 2003).
Development of new products can take one of these two paths. The process may involve generation of the idea, followed designing of the product and the final engineering of the required details prior to their production and subsequent introduction into the market. This first path also requires aspect of the other path of the NPD process outlined as involving intensive and thorough market research and their analysis as the basis for NPD. The use of market research in identifying gaps that can be filled by new products in the market has lead to generation of many innovative products (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005). However new products mainly begin with the generation of a novel idea. Idea generation is the basis for the success of many companies which like 3M, continue to develop new products.
Having many "intrapreneurs" within the organization, who have the creative capability to innovate new schemes is the basis for the generation of new ideas for these companies (Fry, 1987). The NPD process centering on the generated idea demands inputs of time in further expansion of the ideas to feasible terms (Annacchino, 2003). Innovators within large firms require additional time to focus on development of these ideas. In meeting this need, such firms greatly benefit from the creative capacities of their employees. Ensuring the employees have enough freedom to develop their ideas, with all required resources made available at their request makes sure that the new products can develop without any hindrances from other production processes. Such is the profound effect of allowing employees, the intrapreneurs of the company, the freedom, time and money to invest in their ideas relevant to the company's niche of production within the market (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005).
3M Company adopted an influential management policy of extending the opportunity, to all its employees, of allowing them "to spend 15% of their working hours" on personal projects within the firm (Fry, 1987). From these personal projects the firm is now able to generate many products that have been successful within the market, with one of the new products of the seventies, the post-it-notes making great impact (Fry, 1987). Ideas generated by the workers, may at first not seem important to the company, and such should not be discarded but rather stored for any future reference and further development. New product development strategies also take note of the fact that, these ideas can be merged to other already formulated products, in meeting and filling gaps relevant within the markets. The post-it-notes came up from merging the adhesive innovated by Dr. Spencer and the "bookmark" idea generated by Art Fry. Neither would have worked alone. On the other hand, the company, by not throwing away personal projects, gave opportunity for the new product to make it to the market (Fry, 1987).
Companies with organizational heads committed to ensuring the development of new innovations provide great support for the NPD processes. Working environment supporting the intrapreneurs and innovators' creative capabilities are aspects of essence for the NPD processes. This is augmented by the adoption of organizational policies and management practices that guide towards providing suitable working environments for the creative intrapreneurs. Policies allowing the use of company resources at 3M were pivotal to the success of the post-it-notes (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005). Allowing the individuals of the firm to personally exert themselves and their time without unnecessary supervision worked well for the development of the product. Other policies can also be set and adopted to ensure these group of innovators within the company increase their attempts in coming up with ideas that would lead to the innovation and development of new products and services by their organizations.
These policies and programs can outline the proportion of innovative products that the company plans to introduce into the target markets. This can be illustrated by 3M Company's policy targeted at ensuring that 25% of the company sales come from products that had not existed five years prior to the sale period. This ascertains that the company focuses on the new products being innovated by its employs each year. With such a great need for the development of products, organization's resources are readily made available to its intrapreneurs. Establishing of reward schemes for the employees coming up with these products is a sure motivation for them, and encouragements, ensuring their efforts are recognized by the organization. Such rewards may be monetary which is the common mode, and promotion within the organizational structure. Taking care for these vital groups ensures the company prospers and continues to provide relevant products within the markets.
Developing of the concept for the new products, may require the involvement of experts within the same field and others from other disciplines, whose ideas would be pivotal in ensuring the development of the new product, its design and engineering incorporates concepts relevant to their target markets (Brooke & Mills, 2003). Investigations have to be carried out on intellectual property and patenting, a feat made easy with the availability of external assistance. Market analysts come in handy in pointing out the how consumers might react to the product and provide insights on how they can be improved and made more market oriented (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005). Additional information may indicate the pricing ranges of the new products which would point out their profitability, making sure that resources are not diverted to products which may not make it in the market. The necessity of this vital communication with other employees is illustrated by the tech forums conducted within the organization.
Ideas have to be screened to ensure they are first in line with the requirements of the market. Ensuring the new product would go along way in meeting market demands in the targeted markets is paramount to the success of the innovated product. The-post-it-notes had met a crucial need within the office as used by Mr. Fry in passing information to colleagues, even more importantly at the choir were the idea first sprung.
The post-it-notes case provides clear aspects of the NPD process through the generation of idea to their successful production. However allowing company resources to be diverted to projects without doing market research may be an undoing on their NPD strategy (Annacchino, 2003). The development of new products requires their alignment towards meeting identified needs within the markets. Our understanding of effective NPD is the capacity of the product to sell itself and thus generate revenues for the producer, who in this case is 3M. After the brainstorm, it is beneficial to carry out market research before allowing resources to be committed to their development.