IP Management Step 4: Deploying the Best Solutions

OK, I admit that I made this last step sound easier than it really is.  It is NOT as simple as merely selecting some idea and then deploying it.  You actually will be selecting one or more ideas, refining them, validating them with real customers, refining them some more, validation them again, refining them some more – and so on.

First, selecting the product concepts to start with is fairly simple.  Just go back to the set of value drivers and key issues that you established in steps 1 and 2 – and score each product concept – as objectively as you can.  Unless one far outscores all of the rest, select the top 2 to 3 for further exploration.

Second, review the details of each product’s score.  Find the individual value drivers or issues where each one scored lowest – and the features that are causing the low scores.  Then focus some ideation and design activity on improving those features.  Do at least three iterations of improvement.

Third, find the value drives or issues where each one scored highest – and the features causing the high scores.  Then focus your brainstorming and design activity on how to migrate those features to the other product concepts.

Fourth, when you are confident that you have improved the product concepts about as much as you can, start testing them with customers.  Ask customers to either use the product (if  you have a functional prototype) or simulate use.

  • Have them try routine everyday use scenarios – and then get their feedback.
  • Ask them to score the product concept according to the value drivers and issues you’ve already scored.

In other words, find out whether you were thinking like your customers during your design work.

Take that feedback and once again focus your ideation and design activity on the features that need the most improvement – and on proliferating the features that are clearly exceptional.  After at least three cycles, you should be set with a clear launchable design that you can complete and take to market.

Note:  throughout this process you will create (and should record) two types of intellectual property.

  1. New and better understanding of value drivers and issues.
  2. New and better (and sometimes patentable)  feature solutions for those drives and issues.