New Product Development Best Practices: Reality Vs Prescription

This content relates to : NEW PRODUCT & SERVICE DEVELOPMENT

HIGHLIGHTS

NPD practitioners consider strategy as the most important dimension of NPD best practice and metrics as the least important dimension.

Practitioners distinguish between poor and best practice on most dimensions but have difficulty determining the middle ground of practice in their units making the path to “best” difficult to ascertain. 

Practitioners lack understanding of best practices for culture, climate, and metrics but have knowledge of some best practices with regard to strategy, process, research, and commercialization. 

Gloria Barczak

Northeastern University

This paper seeks to examine whether NPD practitioners (not just researchers) are aware of and able to implement NPD best practices designated by noteworthy studies.  Answering this question contributes to our understanding of the diffusion of NPD best practices knowledge to NPD professionals, identifying gaps between prescribed and actual practice. 

To address the above research aim, we conducted a 3 phase Study: Phase 1 involved a Delphi methodology with 20 innovation researchers to examine and comment on a best practice framework proposed by Kahn, Barczak, and Moss (JPIM, 2006). Phase 2 consisted of revising the framework and developing a maturity model for each dimension of the framework. Phase 3 comprised the development of a survey to ascertain perceptions about the equality and maturity level of each of the 7 dimensions. NPD practitioners in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland constituted the sample. 

Our findings reveal that: 

  1. NPD practice is characterized by 7 dimensions: strategy, process, research, project climate, company culture, metrics & performance measurement, and commercialization. 
  1. Managers rated strategy as the most important dimension of best practice and metrics as the least important. 
  1. Practitioners are more aware of poor NPD practice than best practices for all 7 dimensions. 
  1. Practitioners distinguish between poor and best practice on most dimensions but have difficulty determining the middle ground of practice in their units making the path to “best” difficult to ascertain.  
  1. Practitioners lack understanding of best practices for culture, climate, and metrics but have knowledge of some best practices with regard to strategy, process, research, and commercialization. 

Author: 

Gloria Barczak, ’87 Ph.D. 

Professor Emeritus, Marketing Group, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University 

Former Editor, Journal of Product Innovation Management

To learn more, read: 

Kahn, K., Barczak, G., Nichols, J., Ledwith, A., and Perks, H. (2012), “An Examination of New Product Development Best Practice,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29(2), 180-192.