“Where do I get the inspiration from? Who could help me with this? I need someone with an imaginative mind”, I entered the living room wondering how I could come up with five innovative ideas for new businesses required for my New Product Development class. And that is when my gaze fell upon my nephew playing with Lego in a corner, building something that he would later call a space ship. Interrupting his creativity time, I asked him if he could help me with some ideas.
He looked up at me with a spark in his eye, “What about time machine, the time-portals?”
“Huh, no, something which is possible.”
“This is possible!! What made you think it’s not…Let me explain how it would work” and he did. This is great about kids; they are not restricted in their imagination by the limitation of resources.
“Hmm…Okay, any other idea?”…
He didn’t hold back this time either, “Flying cars!! I need one.”
Need!! That is the right word and that’s what put my mind back on the right track (though I still don’t think he actually needs a flying car). Every great idea comes out of a need. A need leads up to a solution and the solution turns into a great innovation. Need is what led us to the things we consider simply indispensible now; the number zero, vaccination, internet and even the sliced bread. Once an opportunity is identified, it needs to be analyzed thoroughly to see if it is RWW (is it Real? Can we Win? Is it Worth it?). The analysis is done using the market research, financial analysis, decision trees and other tools and frameworks. We are living in a time where speed and innovation is important, where only the best is good enough. One has to be aware of and be able to overcome the challenges of developing and rapidly bringing to the market the efficient solutions for the potential customers. The New Product Development class is all about the life cycle process of new innovations (products or services), ranging from realizing and identifying the need to the design optimization to the market launch of the product or service. Using the models and frameworks from the class, we also have term-long group projects to develop and present a new product at the end of the eighth week. Whether any of these products will eventually make it to the market, we will find out soon.