Looks at recent product development literature which cites the improving but troubling success rates of newly introduced products and recommends integrating customer input as early as possible. Notes that, while companies have adopted cross‐functional product development teams, integrating customer input is uncommon. Suggests that, to increase product success consumers and other external information sources should be part of idea generation and should provide input throughout the rest of the product development process. Highlights several problems that exist which interfere with achieving that integration: many firms are not structured to gather, disseminate and exploit consumer preference data or their surrogates; and it is difficult to identify consumers who could provide ongoing interactive input. Reviews the relevant learning organization literature and relates it to the new product development process. Explores the successful lead user technique used in industrial marketing, describes its important components, and proposes a potentially useful extension ‐ boundary‐spanning product development teams. Describes boundary‐spanning product development teams which are composed of internal cross‐functional members and external members selected from suppliers, retailers and consumers.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1996
Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Literature; New product development; Teams
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