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how to find actionable NPD innovation insights

by: PLAY

We know you have plenty of data at your fingertips — too much sometimes, in fact. When snowed under with endless tasks, information overload can leave you utterly stumped about what to do next.

That’s why we’re sharing how to extract actionable insights from the Develop stage of the NPD process, including examples of our favourite consumer-led methods for moving innovation projects forward.

By the conclusion, you’ll feel empowered, energised and confident about getting unstuck and breaking free from the old-school innovation mentality.


the NPD innovation problem

Did you know that more than 40% of companies aren’t talking with end users during product development?

This common misstep often causes organisations to waste precious time and resources on innovation projects that won’t succeed in the real world. Many also miss out on identifying golden NPD nuggets!

In this situation, innovation can become driven by business needs (capitalising on in-house processes and products) without considering the consumer. Worse still, the process can be led by a few dominant internal voices while other key stakeholders feel left out.

Even when innovation managers feel they have listened to the consumer (and there are piles of reports to prove it!), many generally lack time and direction.

A young couple choosing a packaged product on the supermarket shelf.

doing “Develop” right

If any of this sounds familiar, we’ve got your back. PLAY can help you generate unique yet commercially oriented ideas off the back of opportunity areas, plus fully articulated visual and written concepts. The best bit? We bring your team along the entire journey to get everyone on board.

Develop is all about creating, testing, learning and defining. So, how do we make this happen?

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Idea generation

Our consumer-first agile approaches ensure you gain a range of short and long-term innovation priorities, revealing the overlap between your organisation’s objectives and a broader view of your addressable market.

We take a flexible approach to NPD innovation based on your needs and the elements you already have covered. This can include:


1. Innovation scoping and goal setting
Along with reviewing existing research and knowledge, this method helps you understand which gaps need to be filled.

2. Innovation springboards
Here we use mapping tools to uncover white space opportunities.

3. Idea screening
Need to know which of your fantastic ideas has the most potential? This method quickly shortlists those most worthwhile for product concept development using both System 1 & System 2 thinking.

4. Idea development and prioritisation
We have plenty of creative hacks and ethnographic techniques, as well as offering co-design facilitation, rapid product prototyping, in-situ testing and lightning-fast market testing alternatives. We can even challenge our global creative community to build out the opportunity and generate more ideas before filtering them down.


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Two researchers plotting out product portfolio gaps on adhesive notes.

concept development and co-creation

Once that phase is done and dusted, we’ve got a few methods of sharpening your ideas. Now we begin to refine your next NPD innovation:

1. Idea refinement and concept creation
Interrogate ideas internally with stakeholders from the broader business to create a clear concept that’s ready to test with consumers. We have a template and laddering techniques that allow us to develop informative and appealing concepts.

2. Co-creation
Discover how to innovate for a target consumer while increasing your organisation’s understanding of their needs. These workshops can deliver ideas, concepts and messages founded in consumer insight and supported by business feasibility.

3. Product clinics
If you’ve found a market opportunity, have an idea, are still shaping the concept and have an early product prototype, we can help with technical guidance for your product concepts.

4. Brand positioning and fit
We also have flexible methodologies for understanding where your new product and brand sits in the minds of consumers vs the competition (and if that matches up with your original intention!).


learn by listening

After helping countless companies craft that perfect concept, we know the following to be true: By listening to the consumer perspective, insights managers can co-create impactful products that are a win-win for shoppers and the business.

Seriously, even if you’re time-poor with a tight budget, a little focused research is always better than nothing. Reach out here or via hello@playinnovation.com.au or (02) 8097 0200, and we’ll find a solution that suits. Chat soon!

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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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