New Product Development - an MRS conference report

John Griffiths

New product development is an awkward blend of ROI imperative and a real risk of failure.

What made the MRS's recent NPD conference so interesting was how the emerging research tools - many online - enable marketers to pick winners more quickly and easily.

Phil Sutcliffe, the conference chair, pointed out how consistently NPD takes the form of line extensions. This is inherently less risky, even though new product ideas - when successful - deliver much bigger numbers.


The first speaker of the day, Claire Nuttall of 1HQ, who showed how the use of semiotics could determine products' ability to pick up on emergent culture or embed themselves in existing culture.

One example was finding a role for black tea in the UK - a tough challenge considering how fixed the concept of drinking tea with milk has become.