4 VALUABLE WAYS CONSULTANTS CAN ENHANCE YOUR NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
In our previous post on Connected Innovation: Advantages of an In-Touch Process, we talked about how the spread and abundance of information enables an ‘in-touch’ product development process that can be advantageous to your organization. More specifically, by being connected to consumers and understanding their needs and how you can potentially address them, you differentiate your brands and bring value to those who use your products or services. In any given organization, tackling the creative process of generating, developing, and curating new product ideas, along with determining which ideas will be a sales and profit success, can tax internal resources and be quite daunting. While there are numerous ways in which your team can approach this process, seeking outside consulting support provides some significant advantages.
Bringing in outside consultants with the right expertise - and fit with your organization - can result in fewer pain points for your team, drive more efficient success, and ultimately, save you time and money in the long run.
Consultants can be a collaborative resource for your organization and will work side-by-side to help guide you to success. We've identified FOUR specific reasons why organizations should consider bringing in outside consultants as a way to add value to the product development process:
1. Consultants have working processes that have been proven over time
Speed to market is a powerful motivation in new product development for numerous reasons – capturing sizeable market share ahead of competition, establishing dominance in new markets quickly, etc. To achieve this, certain key decisions and activities need to happen in a timely manner and with particular expertise. Sometimes the internal resources necessary to drive product development or to establish a reliable, effective workflow are limited…or your team simply doesn't have enough time. Experienced product development consultants bring to the table dependable processes that have been repeatedly vetted, building on each past project to optimize methods for greater efficiency and results. Knowing a consulting firm’s track record of specific experience, quality work, and reliability can help you find the right partner and maximize the relationship to best benefit your organization.
2. Consultants are an added workforce to help navigate all the data
This new age of information and technology has allowed organizations to gain access to vast amounts of data (i.e. databases, market reports, social media, discussion platforms, etc.), and more and more organizations are willing to spend freely to get as much of it as possible. However, with this abundance of data comes an abundance of work, and organizations that do not have the resources to navigate all the data can drown in it. Having access to large quantities of data can be a competitive advantage, but not having the tools or resources to manage it can be overwhelming and might potentially reduce the quality of serious, accurate decision-making. With the right resources to efficiently organize, analyze and draw actionable insights from the data, which is critical in the early stages of new product development, you can make data-driven decisions and establish the best direction for the organization. Consultants can help by bringing the brainpower and doing the heavy lifting, sifting through the data and helping you navigate the information overload.
3. Consultants have the experience and skills to recognize and distill the right insights that lead to the best ideas and product concepts
Just having people or machines that can go through large datasets or can navigate thousands of pages of market reports or discussion boards is not enough. The magic of this process is in drawing out those nuggets of information that give you an “a-ha!” moment. Uncovering consumers’ unmet needs or pain points to help inform product development should be the goal, but it is not as straightforward as one might think. In some instances, those pain points are apparent. However, in most cases, drawing out those unmet needs is more complex because consumers do not know how to verbalize them, or they just don’t know what they want. As Henry Ford famously said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’” Consultants with many years of product development experience have acquired that sixth-sense or gut feeling that lets them “tease out” and identify the more meaningful insights around wants, needs, expectations, gaps, etc. And although there needs to be a strong process grounding the work, sometimes to arrive at the right insight requires some art as well as science.
4. Consultants provide a fresh way to approach new product development
Organizations often implement rules or process steps that align employees, ensuring they work or walk together in the same direction to achieve overarching growth goals. Bringing in an ‘outsider’ to the organization might sometimes feel counter, or even disruptive, to internal systems and processes.
However, consultants can complement and enhance existing processes with an outside point of view, opening up new and exciting approaches to product development. Changing the "routine” in your organization by bringing in outside resources can do a lot of good for the creative process, providing a new energy around the work. As consultants, we’ve witnessed how outside perspective can light a creative spark that helps generate a diverse set of ideas to fuel successful concept development.
We may be (obviously) biased in favor of consulting firms, but we know, given the right set of circumstances and the right fit between consultancy and client, that the results can be be remarkable.
If you'd like to learn more about how GrowthWorks approaches new product development and other growth challenges, we'd love to talk. Reach out to us at (734) 221-3860 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We can help.