Product Innovation

Even lightbulb moments need a process

Solution / Product / Technology

June 23, 2020

The entrepreneur basically has two strategic levers to grow the business and these are identified as either market or product development, or a combination of the two. The famed Ansoff Matrix depicts this logic visually so that the entrepreneur can take one of four growth trajectories:


  1. Market penetration
  2. Market development
  3. Product development
  4. Diversification.

We are focusing on product development and the processes required to successfully bring new products to market. This could include extending your product range by introducing different variants, repackage existing products, or develop related products or services. A simple example of this is the vehicle manufacturers who have introduced a range of cars such as hatchbacks and SUVs to their traditional range of sedan cars.


So, how do we go about developing new products in a structured manner? Break it down to five stages each with key activities and outcomes, and include a checkpoint after each stage before progressing to the next one.


Stage One: Validate and Define

Key Activities


Major Deliverables:

Checkpoint One

Understand Problems

Market Research

Assess Capabilities

Define Requirements

Prioritize Features

Market Research Report

SWOT Analysis

Market Requirements Document

Product Features Prioritization

Determine if there is a good fit between capabilities and a validated market opportunity.

Make decision to advance to stage two, incubate, or kill.


Stage Two: Evaluate and Position

Key Activities


Major Deliverables:

Checkpoint One

Assess Competitors

Analyze and Size Market

Determine Positioning

Legal/Compliance Issues

Competitive Analysis

Product Features Comparison

Market Segmentation/Sizing

Positioning Statement

Determine if the organization stands a good chance to win in this market against competitors.


Make decision to advance to stage three, incubate, or kill.


Stage Three: Analyze and Build Case

Key Activities


Major Deliverables:

Checkpoint One

Cost/Benefit Analysis

Resources Required


Risk Assessment

Prioritize Portfolio

Pricing Strategy

Break-Even Analysis

Profitability Analysis

Product Development Charter

Business Case

Product Portfolio Prioritization

Determine if this project makes sense financially, is feasible and that timing is right.  Also, evaluate against competing priorities.

Make decision to advance to stage four, incubate, or kill


Stage Four: Develop Product

Key Activities


Major Deliverables:

Checkpoint One

Project Management

Technical Specifications


Trial Production

Testing and Quality Assurance

Product Roadmap

Work Breakdown Structure

Project Management Docs

Feature Release Schedule

Product Development Budget

Determine if engineering team is organized and ready to develop.  Approve budget to invest in full scale production capabilities.


Make decision to advance to stage five, incubate, or kill.


Stage Five: Launch and Review

Key Activities


Major Deliverables:

Checkpoint One

Product Launch Planning

Content Marketing Planning

Sales Training/Enablement

Channel/Distribution Planning

Set Launch Date

Product Launch Plan

Product Launch Checklist

Target Launch Date Set

Content Marketing Plan

Sales/Channel Training Plan

Determine if you are ready to go to market and set a launch date.

Approve sales and marketing plans. Advance to launch, incubate, or kill.



This structured and considered approach to product development should prevent you from rushing headlong into hare-brained schemes that will prove costly in the long run, not only financially but emotionally as well.

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