Innovation may very well be the most challenging aspect of creating a new product. Innovative thought has a highly unpredictable nature, often making it difficult to separate a fantastic new idea from something a little staler. Brainstorming is always the first port of call for entrepreneurs, though there is a worry that this is a hit-and-miss strategy. The fact of the matter is that lateral thinking techniques are absolutely necessary, though they are certainly not intended to be the only type of research in place. Mind-mapping, group facilitations, and consumer surveys are all a part of the innovation process. Unfortunately, this is where many entrepreneurs end their research and fall short as a result.
There is the assumption that product development needs to be rushed. The major error with this type of thinking is that the inevitable solution is a "quick fix", without any real understanding of which functions the product should fulfil or the problems it should solve.
Consumers are no longer looking for products from businesses that churn out one useless item after another. The modern consumer is looking for a message. Products need to fulfil a purpose whilst inciting some form of excitement at the same time. Proper marketing analysis is the only way to achieve genuine innovation. In-house brainstorming sessions no longer provide the ammunition needed to tackle the ever-growing, ever-changing consumer base.
Outsourcing in-depth primary and secondary market research is one of the most valuable tools available to up-and-coming companies. The outsider perspective, combined with years of experience in knowing what makes consumers tick, is what makes these analysts so invaluable at the early planning stages of product innovation.