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When developing a new product, how will you know if it connects with your consumers’ needs? Will it meet their expectations?

These are two classic questions that the MIT Sloan Management Review seeks to answer in its 12 main insights (number 5) on innovation.

The review recommends conceiving products after carefully inspecting the market and potential clients who will consume those products, rather than begin the process internally, with the company’s vision.

Already in the 70s, MIT noted this trend and criticized how many companies wasted or undervalued the information they might receive from the market and its consumers.

And along with this information, their ideas.

Already, back then, MIT stated: “most products marketed as new have previously been conceived and, in a sense, prototyped by groups of users.”

botellas-crowdWhat if 40% of consumers said they prefer bottles with a yellow cap?

The recommendation goes hand in hand with a series of competitive advantages, such as reducing the risk of failure in product launches, as they are validated by large groups of consumers, or using said information as a basis for product development; this entails using up less resources or gaining agility during development.

In this sense, MIT’s theses greatly precede open innovation models by stating that “users are longing to contribute their innovative ideas and information to brands.”

Such forms of co-creation with consumers, or with any other collective, are made possible today at a low cost thanks to technology that adds contributions from many users.

And a new way of conceiving innovation that requires changes in companies. Looking back to the 70s again, the article mentioned above concludes: “The great challenge lies in organizations themselves, in convincing their people of the benefits of having information and ideas that come from outside the organization.”

Decades later, technology facilitates this task.

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