Now more than ever, “innovation” seems to be cropping up across a broad spectrum of organizations and business sectors, having evolved into a more modern term for “R&D.” Innovations keep companies fresh and pushes them to new heights; increasingly it is their life blood in this highly competitive and changing marketplace. That said, innovations are gambles – pie in the sky ideas that need protection, development, and validation that can come from doing research with people who bring fresh perspectives, don’t have the same daily involvement with the product, and know the importance of protecting new ideas.
Integrating fresh perspectives from outside the team as part of pre-testing can deliver critical discoveries that may have otherwise gone unseen. But what are the advantages of pretesting so early in the process? By pre-testing, a product or service can get refined before it goes public; it nurtures the new offering and protects from unwanted backlash or negative reception that can easily go viral in social ecosystems. Consider the cost that is going into developing a new product or service. Pre-testing can also avoid wasteful advertising of features deemed relatively unimportant. Developing a program to test throughout the innovation and development process is a good way to find out what is working, and what may need refinement. This creates invaluable opportunities to optimize and realign with the needs of the marketplace.
Pre-testing isn’t simply an approach to mitigate risk; it can also be used very effectively to identify new opportunities. These might include things such as key features and the most receptive types of customers who may have not really been considered when preparing for an initial launch. For these reasons (and many more), we at PhiPower are advocates of pre-testing, and have significant experience developing programs for a broad spectrum of organizations, content, products, and services.