Trilogy Tidings
August 2017
in this issue
     Two somewhat related topics this month. The first is a topic that just about everyone in business cares very much about: the likely commercial success and user reception of a new product. Important stuff. Company survival just might be in play.

     The second topic is another of my rants about the role that product design can play in product success. A somewhat silly example sets the stage. The third topic reminds you of some collaboration tools that may help your team get work done.

     Finally, are you enthused about the current role of US politics in your daily life? Me neither!  

Will Your New Product Succeed?              
     This is a common and rather critical question, right? Clearly, it's best to get the answer as soon as possible, preferably before you've emptied the investment coffers and risked your reputation in the marketplace.
     I offer the following principles for your consideration:
  • To repeat for emphasis: Answer the question as soon as possible and as often as necessary!
  • If your enterprise is immature, your first or second product just might establish the survival or failure of your company.
  • The resources at your disposal to help in answering the question are obvious: Your internal team, field sales reps, current customers, and prospective customers. Excessive reliance on your internal staff is a dangerous trap.
  • Despite the obvious merit in understanding needs expressed by prospective users/customers, be mindful of Steve Jobs' caution that "people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
  • A failed product introduction might yield more than just disappointing sales numbers and disappointed customers. If your new product is truly unique or aimed at an unexpected market segment, you may have alerted competitors to an opportunity before establishing your own beachhead in that segment.
     As for the questions you should ask along the way, you really have to devise the ones most appropriate to your circumstances. But I do have some likely possibilities to offer within each of three stages of product evolution - concept, prototype and post-market - in a new one-pager. Check it out, and do share your thoughts.

More on the Criticality and Challenge of Product Design             
     I'm a sucker for clever product design. I think it's incredibly important to product success in the marketplace - at product launch and, more importantly, later in the hands of users who will cement the supplier's reputation and commercial success. (Full disclosure: I'm not a capable industrial designer, but I do know a few.)
     Given my bias in such matters, I was really intrigued by a recent piece by Ian Bogost in The Atlantic entitled " Why a Toaster Is a Design Triumph." Silly example, you say? Not so. Actually an excellent example whatever business you're in.
     Bogost reinforces the criticality of design detail as a factor in product success, exploiting the toaster example. More importantly, he argues for the critical role of "design genius" as a counterpoint to current user-experience (UX) process formality.
     I recommend Ian's piece for your attention.
Consider Using Task Management Software for Teamwork              
     I spent many years of my corporate career managing projects, most often dealing with new-product research, development and commercialization. The composition of those project teams generally included functions like research, engineering, product design, market research, product management, marketing, manufacturing and logistics. That's a total of 8 functions, and if you've managed projects of that scale you know it can be a real challenge to keep everything and everyone on track.

     Well, the collaboration resources have improved since those dark ages in the form of so-called task management software tools. I think these tools are worthy of your evaluation and possible use if you are responsible for managing projects of significant scale, say more than about 3-4 persons, and especially if team members often find themselves at disparate locations.

     Full disclosure: I have never used any such tools, and I have no relationship with any of their suppliers. But from what I read, they are worth a look. Some of these tools are cited in reviews reported by Captera, a business software outfit. One of the tool vendors introduces the rationale for their use.

     Hey, whatever helps.     
Resources from our Archives 
     Check out our Reading Room to view my published articles, presentations and white papers on a variety of topics.
     And, you can examine my Newsletter Archive of prior Trilogy Tidings (since February 2007).
What does Trilogy do? 
     Trilogy Associates facilitates business growth and renewal through commercialization of new products, providing the following services:
  • Opportunity assessment
  • Business planning and enterprise growth strategies
  • New-product conceptualization, commercialization and marketing
  • Market research and competitive assessment
  • Business development and partnering
  • Market and technological due diligence
  • Assessment of the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of novel technologies
  • Design of efficient and effective development strategies for early-stage biomedical products
  • Business and technical writing/publishing

     Inquiries to establish whether and how we might support your business initiatives are always welcome.  Contact us.

Contact Information
ContactInfoJoseph J. Kalinowski, Principal
LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/trilogy