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4 tested tips to supercharge your NPD success in FMCG innovation

by: PLAY

The NPD process can feel like a hot mess sometimes. You get off to a shaky start, everyone is operating in silos, your support system has gone AWOL and everything is taking way too long. That’s why we want to arm you with easy-to-execute tips that will supercharge your NPD success rate.

In this article, we’re sharing our team of FMCG innovation experts’ best-practice tricks for doing NPD right. Read on and learn how to start strong, build alignment, leverage suppliers and fulfil your need for speed.

cast the net wide with a strong kick-off

The expression goes, “start as you mean to go on”. And it’s true for NPD too. We believe that a solid “kick-off” workshop can benefit everyone because it:

  1. helps you recognise how and why you have landed at this point
  2. allows you to explore whether anything else could or should be on the table

At this stage in the process, we recommend asking yourself these questions: 

  • What research do we have on hand that can give us consumer insights?
  • What have we tested before? What was the outcome?
  • What are the macro or micro trends that are shaping our direction?

Close-up of a lightbulb filament shaped like the word ‘idea’

get team alignment and stakeholder support

This aspect of NPD (and indeed most business activity) is often wildly undervalued and overlooked. Bumps in the road are inevitable during any innovation journey, but getting your ducks in a row by building internal support will help remove barriers as you progress.

Remember, if you want to make innovation happen successfully, you need 360-degree support: top-down and bottom-up.
Innovation manager sitting with analysts in a conference room discussing successful NPD innovation.

pick better partners (and PLAY well with your current ones!)

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about romance or business; partnerships of any kind should be mutually beneficial. So, if you haven’t already, this is a nudge to review how else your existing partners could be helping:

  • What could your suppliers do to assist with new product development?
  • What technology or capabilities do your suppliers have that you haven’t yet leveraged?
  • Do you need different partners for different purposes?

Innovation manager sitting outside and pondering how to make the most of her partnerships.

get what you need sooner 

Humans are creatures of habit. That’s why, at some point or other, we all fall into the trap of doing what we’ve always done. The problem with that? Getting the results we’ve always got — which is kinda the exact opposite of innovation!

When breaking new ground, you can’t always rely on traditional, large-scale research approaches. Doing things differently will not only cut through long lead times to help you succeed sooner, but it may also help you fail faster too (this is a great thing, by the way).

If you’re looking for more efficient ways to build, test and iterate, we recommend trying some of the following:

These are all great ways to seed new ideas and gather direct feedback at the same time.
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ready, set, go. 

So, there you have it. Now you know the foundational elements of NPD success and a few directions you can take. Some of these approaches are easier to tackle than others, but all of them are guaranteed to give you better insights and outcomes.

Need something more detailed than our quick NPD tips? PLAY’s FMCG innovation experts can help map out your entire process — at pace!

Get in touch here or via hello@playinnovation.com.au or (02) 8097 0200. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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about the author


As the experts in consumer-led innovation in FMCG, we partner with manufacturers and retailers to lift the productivity and effectiveness of their NPD. It’s all in how we blend innovation advisory with tailored consumer insight using an agile, consumer-first approach. Think of us like the connective tissue within your innovation process. We guide you at every step of the journey, helping you align, focus and develop ideas and products that sell.

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