Article | Research-Technology Management | January–February 2012

Do You Need a New Product-Development Strategy?

by Alan MacCormack, W. Crandall, P. Toft and P. Henderson


Many firms rely on a single new-product development process for all projects. But designing new products for different business contexts requires that a firm deploy different new-product development processes. Products designed for stable and mature end-user markets require a process optimized for control and efficiency. In contrast, first-of-a-kind "breakthrough" products require a more emergent process that aims to discover whether there is any market to be served in the first place. Applying a uniform "best-practice" process to all development efforts ignores the major differences between these projects and may result in missed opportunities. This article describes a framework to address this problem, allowing a firm to better align the design of its development processes to the specific aims of individual projects. We illustrate this framework with examples from Hewlett-Packard, a large, diversified electronics firm that has successfully piloted this new approach across multiple business units.

Keywords: Strategy; Product Development;


MacCormack, Alan, W. Crandall, P. Toft, and P. Henderson. "Do You Need a New Product-Development Strategy?" Research-Technology Management 55, no. 1 (January–February 2012): 34–43.