To some, new product development (NPD) sounds like a complex process where businesses rack their brains for years to find the next major breakthrough in a market. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. If you ask me the best innovations are tweaks.
Take this can of drink I bought in Italy. It’s a standard aluminium can. With a plastic cover on the lid. Seemed a bit of a pain to me at first. For the company, too, this is an added cost, plus complexity in logistics, plus factory problems. A total pain for all then?
Why did they do it? Well because there had been things in the press about rats pee-ing on cans and the health risks. Maybe the brand managers in Italy decided this was the best solution. Indeed it was. Not only that, I could have bought one of 15 products in that small shop in Italy. But the one I bought was this one – because I knew the lid would be clean unlike the others. My motivation, on that hot and dusty day, was cleanliness.
To the company that was one more customer than the competition got on that day. Multiply that up and you can see that sometimes the little changes make a big difference. And yes, even this little plastic cover falls under the area of effective NPD.