How do you know if your new product idea is actually a good idea? What if you have two or three good ideas, but can only fund one project? To make these critical decisions in new product development you need to implement an idea screening process.
It’s very important to have an idea screening process in place during the beginning stage of new product development. Developing new products that do well in the marketplace is a difficult task that requires company funds and dedicated resources. Many new products never end up launching or fail once they get to market, causing a huge waste of company money and time. Using an idea screening process will help focus attention to more highly successful product ideas.
The Stage-Gate® Model
Many companies that develop successful new products use the Stage-Gate process for new product development. This new product development process was created by Dr. Robert Cooper, the author of ‘Winning at New Products’. The first gate that an idea must pass through is the Idea Screen.
What Is An Idea Screen?
An idea screen is a management tool used to examine the strength of new product ideas by answering questions related to the viability and potential success of the new product idea. An idea screen is used to filter out the bad or mediocre ideas and discover the really good ideas. An idea screen can effectively manage which idea will proceed.
Setting Up An Idea Screen
Screening a new product idea involves answering important questions about the idea. The questions help determine the potential market for the product, how competitors will react to this new product, internal resources available to develop the product, and the financial opportunity from the new product.
The screeners should ask several questions:
Will customers in the target market benefit from the product?
What is the size of the target market?
What is the potential growth of the market?
What is the current competitive landscape for this potential product?
Will the targeted price cover the cost of R&D, manufacturing and product delivery?
Idea Screening Resources
Here are a few documents and resources to help you create your own customized new product idea screening checklist:
- Wikipedia Entry for Stage Gate Model
- Stage Gate – Criteria for Initial Screen
- Checklist: Screening Your New Product Opportunity (pdf)
- A New Approach for Screening New Product and Service Concepts – Research Paper (pdf)
- Selecting Winning New Product Projects Using the NewProd System – Robert G. Cooper (pdf)
- Protecting and Commercializing your Intellectual Property
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- Screening New Product Ideas