Innovation has never been more diverse and has never happened at a more startling pace. This is driven by consumer demand and the rise in new technologies like the IoT and AI, and is propelled by a world growing ever smaller through the rapid speed of globalization.
In consumer goods, about 85% of new products fail in the market, according to FoodNavigator-USA.com. And innovation is the only way to beat these numbers, as customers are willing to pay more for innovative products. For instance, a Customer Think study revealed that 83% of customers indicate that they would pay more for innovation in electronics.
So what do the next few years have in store for product innovation and what are the main influencing factors driving it? We look at the three top trends over the coming years:
Modern customers are becoming more and more interested in the ethics and sustainability of the practices of the companies they utilize. Nine in 10 customers agree that brand innovation needs to impact society, according to a study by the PR agency Edelman. The same study found that 69% of customers expect brand innovation to improve society. This commitment needs to be demonstrated throughout the R & D and supply chain process, and it needs to be obvious to consumers where it is - and isn't - being adhered to.
This mindful consumerism will continue to influence product innovation over the coming years, and manufacturers need to be conscious of the processes that go into their products as well as working towards increasing visibility. Innovations that drive this will become increasingly popular.
Discover more about where product innovation is and where it is heading at our Product Innovation Summit in Boston, September 27-28.
The gig economy
It’s easy to move quickly when you’re a small, nimble startup, hence why they are notorious for innovating the most effectively. But when you’re a large, global corporation, product innovation can become stale.
This is where the gig economy can come into it's own in inspiring innovation. Many larger corporations are realizing that they can jump onto new opportunities with more speed by not structuring people’s jobs around broadly defined roles. Instead, innovation is better through of in terms of tasks and results — whether evaluating new strategies, launching new products, or transforming IT infrastructure to scale with long-term needs. This way they can draw from both internal resources and high-end independent professionals, ensuring they are assembling the best, most agile team for the job.
"This type of agility goes way beyond corporate innovation labs," said Jody Greenstone Miller, CEO and co-founder of Business Talent Group (BTG), in an interview with Forbes. “Instead, it cascades throughout the entire organization. The Head of Corporate Development at an industrial conglomerate, for instance, uses on-demand independent strategists to assess acquisition targets in adjacent industries. These professionals have deep industry knowledge, and they understand the company’s long-term strategic interests. Together, they help the Corporate Development team efficiently prioritize opportunities without hiring a suite of experts for each deal, and they increase its agility in diverse markets.”
The world is becoming increasingly mobile. According to Gartner, by 2020, the number of devices connected to the internet will more than triple, estimates suggesting there could be as many as 20.8 billion globally.. As smartphones have become commonplace, mobile browsing has swiftly caught up with desktop browsing, and in 2017 for the first time it overtook desktop browsing as the most common method. This is something companies need to be aware of when developing products today, as a digital product needs to be easily utilized from a smartphone.This trend towards mobile has already begun impacting product innovation and this trend will continue. This has led to some major shifts in such long-established industries such as banking, retail, and travel, as well as creation of new areas of opportunity outside of them. More businesses are adopting a comprehensive, mobile-first strategy to meet the challenges of the new age.