Innovation from NPD to NPSD

Most organizations focus on building short-term product innovation engines. However, most products have little sustainable competitive advantage and never generate a profit; those that do are often quickly copied by the competition, negating any long-term advantage. The result: a significant investment in product development, without a commensurate return on investment.

To have a real systematic innovation in products have to decide between Staged vs Spiral Development, in this article I propose to use the product development improving process bringing Innovation from NPD (New Product Development) to NPSD (New Product Spiral Development).


Many businesses use too rigid and linear a process for product development. The PDMA Handbook explains that smart projects teams and business practice Spiral Development, based on Agile Development, as used in the information technology industry. They build in a series of iterative steps or loops whereby successive versions of the product are shown to the customer to seek feedback and verification.

Spiral Development is a series of Build-Test-Feedback-Revise iterations (their iterative nature leads to the term spiral development) gets the product right with no time wasted.

Spiral Development is the way fast-paced teams handle the dynamic information process with fluid, changing information. Spiral development helps the project team get the product and product definition right, in spite of the fact that some information is fluid and some may even be unreliable when the team moves into the development stages.

Jose A. Briones said in Repeating Disruptive Innovation that spiral development provides the balance of flexibility and control needed for a repeatable and successful approach to disruptive innovation. The Spiral Solution consists of three parts:

  1. Classifying projects according to the degree of uncertainty
  2. Adopting a controlled iterative process to discovery
  3. Using the right analysis tools that correspond to the level of uncertainty at each iteration level

Below the figure for New Product Spiral Development (NPSD) created by Robert G. Cooper:

  • Build something: even if it’s only a model or representation of the product.
  • Test it: get it in front of the customer or user and gauge interest, linking, preferences and purchase intent, likes and dislikes.
  • Get feedback: find out the customer’s reactions firsthand and, most important, what must be fixed or changed.
  • Revise: update the product definition based  on this feedback, and get set for the next iteration of build-test-feedback-revise.

If your company is using the traditional-linear NPD, Spiral NPD or another tools Vijay Govindarajan remember us that to achieve sustainable growth, companies must better integrate product innovation with business model, process, and service innovation.

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Geovanny Romero, is certified NPDP Plant Manager at Renovallanta-ContiLifeCycle, and Managing Director at NPD Strategy in Andean Region. A Member of PDMA International, his main interests are focused in Productivity, New Product Development and Lean In.

Geovanny Romero




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No Comments

  1. Jose A. Briones, Ph.D. on October 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for the mention! This paper has more details on my spiral approach to product development and disruptive innovation

  2. Rob Berman on October 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I enjoyed the post. However, what about services like insurance where there is no physical product, other than a piece of paper as a promise?

  3. B.B Klaversteijn on October 15, 2013 at 3:58 am

    As an innovation-sherpa I assisted many an ex-corporate inventor on innovation-ventures to unknown heights. We knew that we would thereby envcounter strong disruptive winds which, if we were clever enough, we might be able to use to our advantage. In order to improve our chances and optimize the invention itself we would circle the peak till we felt confident enough to go for the peak. Every time we went full circle the team acquired new knowdledge of a higher level than was acheived during the preceding round. This is very simular or even the same as the NPSD approach. There is a difference though. Our survival dependeded on this survival oriented knowledge and the extent to wich it was co-produced.

  4. Abdulrahman on October 20, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Nice post really innovative .

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