Qualitative Goals in the Product Innovation Charter (PIC) are vital and more important than quantitative goals in the PIC.
Let’s consider a PIC that has the qualitative innovation goals of “attractiveness” and “affordability.” Here is how the innovation process becomes easier when the PIC goals are clear:
- A Sense of Purpose: Qualitative Goals provide a sense of purpose and vitality to the New Product Development (NPD) team. Think about developing an “affordable” product in these tough economic times without sacrificing “attractiveness.”It is the kind of reason the NPD team gets motivated and charged up in the morning to achieve the quantitative objectives of the PIC. In fact the qualitative goals provide the “spirit” to the team to achieve quantitative reasons.
- Ongoing feel for success in design: Does a design feel “attractive”? If attractive is mentioned among the qualitative goals then the innovation team does the first call on devising what constitutes attractiveness in their market. By narrowing down alternative concepts at the drawing board the concepts that get to concept testing with consumers are already high on “attractiveness” as far as the NPD team is concerned.
- Choice of materials: Depending on the category staying with the “attractive” and adding the “affordability” immediately allows decisions for types of materials.
- Supplier Relations: The supply manager in the innovation team can make the two qualitative PIC goals clear to prospective suppliers and can be hugely helpful in guiding their efforts.
- Easier Concept Testing: If you have the PIC goals of attractiveness and affordability, it is much easier to do concept testing. And it becomes better if you have a prototype and then ask sample prospective consumers if they think the product is attractive and (estimate a price) affordable. At this time the innovation team might realize that consumers have different notions of attractiveness and affordability than what they had assumed.So some more probing about what are the indicators of attractiveness might be worthwhile as the concept is narrowed down and refined. For example, doing a focus group with a prototype might reveal that “attractiveness”depends on how many of your Facebook friends “like” the photo of the new product you just bought.
- Easier Launch and Marketing Decisions: If you have “affordability” in the PIC you will be looking at getting into affordable Wal-Mart than the premium Nordstrom. The point being that each piece of the launch and initial marketing can be guided by the qualitative goals in a well thought out PIC.
To summarize, just like qualitative research helps get a feel of the domain, qualitative goals allow the innovation team to get a “feel” of the goal of innovation. Finally, he qualitative goals of the PIC should be as closely aligned to the company’s overall mission as possible. About StratoServe.