Do you have an idea for a new product or service, but you’re not sure if customers are willing to pay for it? In this article, we will share six proven ways to leverage preproductization for competitiveness enhancement and investment decision-making.
- Advance Your Stuck Idea
- Get Evidence of Marketability
- Examine Technical Feasibility
- Inspire Your Organization
- Prove Assumptions Wrong
- Concretize the Benefits of Data
What Is Preproductization?
Preproductization assesses the marketability of an idea or solution. It allows you to present the essential components of your product or service to your customers in the form they would be in the final version.
By conducting preproductization, you can directly gather feedback from your actual customers on how your idea works in practice and how it should be implemented. Often, it’s crucial to think outside the box to refine a solution to a diamond. This way, the implementation hits the mark right from the start.
Through the following six methods, preproductization can make your work more meaningful and open paths to business success.
1. Advance Your Stuck Idea
In many companies, the need for development is recognized, but the idea hasn’t yet been formulated concretely enough to take action. This can be due to a complex operational environment or because the project involves multiple departments or companies.
Sometimes there simply is not enough time or capacity for necessary planning and advancing the idea.
To address this issue, we developed the UnSeen Buzz service. It serves as the starting point for your project’s life cycle, helping you find the best way to proceed. It doesn’t solve the current challenge but assists in outlining the next steps on the development path. A three-hour discussion is all that’s needed to get your stuck idea moving.
2. Get Evidence of Marketability
The fundamental idea of preproductization is that the investment should prove profitable before launching a development project. Therefore, preproductization should be used to demonstrate marketability.
Preproductization can help validate marketability in the following ways:
- You can demonstrate your idea concretely to potential customers during meetings or at trade shows. Focusing on the idea and receiving feedback is more effective than delivering a 20-page presentation. Tangibility often opens up discussions and provides solid evidence.
- You can allow loyal customers to try your idea in practice. Loyal customers are often more valuable when trying new development. You can introduce new ideas and concepts more freely to them. This way, you’ll find out if your idea has any value for the customer, and you might discover your first potential customers.
- You can use data to prove that a specific feature, product, or service is actively used.
Sometimes, the absence of evidence is also valuable. People tend to speak up, especially if an idea doesn’t work. This is valuable information. If a customer doesn’t see any value in the solution, you save money for better ideas. Learn more about why fast failure is a product developer’s dream and a business opportunity.
3. Examine Technical Feasibility
There are situations where an idea or invention is great, but its technical feasibility is questionable. You may find yourself pondering the following questions:
- Can this work within desired parameters or conditions?
- Can this be solved with software?
- Is there an off-the-shelf device in the market that requires research and testing for integration into our system?
- Does a semi-finished solution offer enough functionality and desired use cases?
- Can my business problem or idea be solved cost-effectively by integrating ready-made devices or available source code?
- Does this improve the user experience or performance of my current system?
- Can I obtain data from the operating environment that I can utilize in my business?
Preproductization answers these questions through prototypes. Prototypes are used to test the idea in practice and collect real-time data. The results help you decide how to proceed with your idea.
4. Inspire Your Organization
A common challenge in a digitalizing world is that machines, devices, and systems have been sold for years, but signs of decline are starting to show on the bottom line. Competitiveness erodes, digitalization is not utilized effectively, and there’s not enough money for investments. More and more people in the organization begin to worry about the future.
It’s natural for these warning signs to cause feelings of helplessness. In such cases, it takes courage to invest even a small sum. However, change needs to be given a chance.
Preproductization often starts with something small yet significant: conducting a cost-effective experiment that results in something tangible to present to the executive team. This sparks discussion, innovation, and concreteness, both in favor and against. Conversation, innovation, and tangibility are the keys to securing a budget. Renewal and creating something new also provide motivation for the entire personnel and retains talented individuals.
5. Prove Assumptions Wrong
What’s more troublesome than self-assured hypotheses? These are dangerous thought processes where facts and fiction mix, disregarding the right decision.
Such confusion can arise when a strong vision and gut feeling override facts.
Often, the outcome of such decision-making in product development is that a new feature is received with surprise in the field. Didn’t we ask the customers about this? Does this work technically?
The worst-case scenario is when the sales team has sold a feature that cannot be implemented or is exorbitantly expensive – but no one believes it! Sometimes, it’s necessary to prove this concretely. In preproductization, both answers, yes and no, are equally valuable. “Fail fast” is often a better outcome than a lukewarm feeling of success.
6. Concretize the Benefits of Data
Unexploited data in the database, or the lack of data can both be frustrating situations. Exploring business opportunities requires expertise in the entire data chain, from data sources to the end user/controlled system, in order to:
- concretize the value of data
- measure the value of data
- calculate whether the investment is profitable.
Through preproductization, one or more use cases are implemented in which a value-producing chain is created between data and the user. The solution encompasses elements such as data collection, analysis, processing, process control, and/or visualization. Some of these elements may already be in place, so preproductization focuses on the missing parts.
Preproductization does not turn the solution into production until the benefits of data and the solution are proven. This way, new business opportunities can be tested and experimented with at reasonable costs.
What’s Next – How to Implement Preproductization in Practice?
Now it’s clear that preproductization can be used in various ways to gain new business opportunities. But how should you get started with preproductization? How do you practically seek evidence of marketability? Discover two secret weapons that can help you succeed in preproductization.