Product Innovation: Science or Luck?
Is new product innovation a science or more down to luck?
A recent analysis of 8,500+ FMCG launches reveals just 18 ‘breakthrough’ innovation successes. Nivea, Robinsons, Strongbow, Vanish and Volvic were among a select group of brands to have successfully launched products classed as ‘breakthrough innovation winners’ in 2015. To be classed a breakthrough innovation winner, product launches had to meet three criteria: Deliver a new proposition (not just a refinement); generate at least £10/€10 million sales in their first year of trading; and maintain at least 90% of their sales in the second year. Only 18 product launches met this criteria.
Luck or science? How about both!
These “breakthrough” innovators made their own luck and used science to do it. It’s not about what happened in the first year of trading and the second. For me it’s the work that they did before the first year of trading that will have set them up for success. They will have trialled and experimented, planned and positioned their “breakthroughs” meticulously. They sought to understand customers’ tastes and desires, and they understood the circumstances and habits that drove them. They invested in launching in the right way, through the right channels to the right audiences.
The luck comes from the trials and experiments generating a worthwhile new proposition.
The science they applied was the rigour they wrapped around the process and the planning and positioning to ready the market for their launch.
Good on them!