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New Product Success Using the Product Development Process

by Colleen Hiscock

No matter what industry you’re in, doing your product development well will ensure that you enter your market with the best probability of success.

Using a product development process (PDP) lets you explore and develop ideas, take smart risks, mitigate other risks, and introduce a successful product to your market.

The process consists of three main elements: initiation, development, and commercialization. Each of these elements contains a series of activity stages and decision gates that enable or halt the process.

Halting the process sounds like failure, but it’s exactly the opposite. Having a process with built-in decision gates ensures that you’re assessing and reassessing as early as possible and thus can tackle any flaws or weak points in your plan. Each decision gate gives you an opportunity to either proceed with your new product or stop pursuing the idea altogether. While stopping may not sound very successful, it means you can direct your time and energy to other possibilities.


So, you’re full of good ideas. But are they good? Are they viable? Your idea or concept needs to be evaluated. Here’s how that happens.

Idea generation such as brainstorming with critique and debate is very effective and will improve your first ideas. Using structured approaches for defining the customer requirements such as an assessment of your market ensures that you’re addressing what your customers want and need. Using a formalized approach ensures that all ideas are acknowledged, but that only ideas with real potential are pursued.

Concept development gets you to consider the details of your new product. What is the product? What makes it unique? What does it look like, weigh, taste like, feel like? What kind of container does it come in? What need or want does the product fulfill? How much would customers pay for it? Who are your customers? Will they buy once or regularly? Can you get the raw materials and help that you need? How will you deliver or ship your product?

A feasibility assessment and idea screening will consider and measure factors such as the business opportunity the new product presents, whether you have the capability to launch something new, how this product fits with your bigger business, and how easy or difficult development will be. The answers to these questions will determine whether you should proceed with this idea.

Preliminary costing is one of the most vital elements to include in your feasibility assessment and overall PDP. This initial costing should consider everything from the cost of raw materials, packaging, labour, shipping and delivery, marketing, wastage, to how to use or dispose of byproducts and other waste. Accurate and thorough costing is so important to your success in launching a new product that I will be writing another article about the topic.


If after going through the initiation steps you still feel you have a great product, it’s time to develop a prototype product. Get the prototype created and tested as quickly as possible. Only then will you really understand what you’re creating, how it works or why it doesn’t work, and whether or how the product or the product concept needs to change.

Quick prototyping means that you’ll receive useful feedback early in your development stage. It’s another decision gate where you can assess the product and determine whether you will continue or move to another idea.

Once you have a presentable prototype, show it to your target market and get their feedback. Test marketing will give you insights that you never considered. Actual customer feedback is invaluable. Test marketing lets you control risk by launching in a small and controlled way with the opportunity to continue as you are, make tweaks based on feedback, or go no farther with the new product.


Commercialization is the only stage that many people know about when they consider bringing a new product to market.

Depending on your product, commercialization can involve preparing to produce in large volumes, setting up your supply chain and distribution, assigning SKUs, designing packaging, marketing and advertising, and selling.

Product development is best done purposefully. The goal is to ensure that you create something that your market wants and that you can deliver. My PDP ensures that you consider all the elements involved, are able to manage risks, and know when to change course, stop the process, or proceed to commercial success.

If you’re curious and want to learn more, I offer a workshop on the product development process and consultation on both PDP and accurate product costing.

Bon Appetit Development Inc. (BADI) is a freelance food consulting company based in Eastern Canada. Our mission is to enable organizations to simply and easily stretch their budget to achieve more. We enhance the efficiency of each client’s costs using customized and comprehensive programs to eliminate waste and streamline processes. With Principal Colleen Hiscock’s three decades of experience of product development and food manufacturing from A to Z, she helps companies of all sizes. She has a proven track record of successful commercialization from concept to market and helps clients with project management needs, cost reduction, and processing efficiencies, as well as strategic planning to get to market faster with a higher rate of success. As well, BADI offers customized educational programming and staff coaching in food science, food safety, and lean manufacturing.

Contact info : Colleen Hiscock,, 905-875-8590

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