The new product development process starts with a search for good ideas. Where do new product ideas come from? – is an important question. The sources of new ideas are many. First of all company’s own research and development department may produce new ideas taking direction from customer requirements or needs, uncovered through marketing and other research.
Some companies, such as Unilever Lever Limited, also carry on basic research and come up with products that were not specifically sought. Others get ides from brainstorming sessions of management and other personnel and from suggestions from salesmen, production people, engineers and others. Still other ideas come from outside sources, both solicited and unsolicited.
Few generalizations are valid concerning the relative merits of tapping external and internal sources of new product ideas. Each idea, regardless of its source, should be evaluated on its own merits, considering both market need and opportunities and the company’s capabilities. However, it can be said that ideas originating outside the company often are unique, since they represent thinking undulled by close association with established products.
Technical developments have also created numerous opportunities for the development of new products and improvement in existing ones. Hence, a good company should gather ideas from all sides and evaluate them carefully.