Innovation and Prodcut Development

The first element is the product. A product is a good or service intended to meet the needs of consumers or society. Read the introductions of each section to gain an understanding of products and product development.

As Montgomery learned, the introduction of an innovative product to the market is more unpredictable, and thus more risky, than the introduction of a market-tested product. Starting up a store to sell an improved version of an existing surfboard entails one level of risk; starting up a business to market the first motorized surfboard entails quite another. Even though the introduction of new-to-the-market products are more risky, some of this risk can be avoided. What if, for example, Montgomery had brought the Jetboard to market only to discover that many of the buyers in his target market – water-sports enthusiasts – couldn't easily maneuver the Jetboard? We could then say that he took an unnecessarily risky step in bringing his product to market, but we could also say that he simply attempted to market his product without adequate information. Surely a little research would have alerted Montgomery to the probable consequences of his decision to go to market when he did and with his product in its current state of development.

A couple of final words, therefore, about introducing an entirely new product to the market. First, this type of product introduction is about carefully calculated risks, not unnecessary risks. Second, though little is certain in the entrepreneurial world, most decision making can be improved with input from one or both of two sources:

  1. Information gathered from research
  2. Knowledge gained from personal experience

Again, you can't be certain about any results, but remember that uncertainty reflects merely the lack of complete knowledge or information; thus, the more knowledge and information that you can bring to bear on a situation, the less uncertain – and the less risky – the decision becomes. In short, always do your homework, and if you're new to entrepreneurship or to your market, make it a point to work with people who know from experience what they're talking about.