I believe in trying many new things
beyond the view of your customers
. Don't let them actually experience your failures, as that would tarnish your reputation. Furthermore, protect your purse by not actually commercializing those new things
until you have a reasonable expectation of success
. In other words, focus on numerous shallow dives first.
Easier said than done? Of course. You can never be certain of the outcome until you actually place new things in customer hands. But you can avoid acting stupid by engaging in some early analysis and diligence to weed out the ideas that have no chance of success. Will such a toe-in-the-water approach yield the truth 100 percent of the time? No. Will it protect you from ridicule 90 percent of the time? You bet.
I've made a living and thoroughly enjoyed conducting early-look opportunity assessments for our clients over many years. The approaches taken are tightly focused and rigorous, the findings are usually definitive, the investments are typically modest, and - best of all - the work is undertaken
beyond the view of customers.
The very first step you should take in assessing the chances of a new-product opportunity's success in the healthcare arena is to answer three basic questions for yourself:
- Will you be helping patients?
- Will you be making the lives of healthcare workers better?
- Will you be allowing payers to pay less?
I suggest that, if your answers to at least two of these three questions are yes, your new-product idea does indeed have a chance. (If you'd like some top-of-mind help in honestly answering these questions, just let me know; I'll try to provide some guidance.)
If your idea survives this first hurdle, it's time for some more expansive serious work, perhaps starting with the advice offered in the next article.