We live in a world in which we’re surrounded by products. Products that make life easier, products that gives us a sense of prestige in a social context, products that make us look cool, products that entertain us, products that we are forced to use, products that frustrate us, products that make us happy and so forth. I could go on and the list is endless.
A product’s journey from the mind of the person who came up with the idea, to the hands of the person who uses it is a rather complex and tedious adventure with many intermediate stops (some necessary, some unnecessary), each with the potential to kill it off. We’re also at a phase where the consumer consciousness is focused not just on self-interest but also on the future of the planet, sustainability and so forth.
Keeping these in mind, I believe these the top five factors influencing product development, going forward. At the very basic definition, product development is the process of taking an idea and developing it into a product. Over the last few centuries, different factors such as technology, purchasing power, economies of scale, costs and so forth have influenced the product development process.
However, going forward, a lot will change with the way we design and develop products. It will not just be a simple contest of price, features, prestige and technology anymore. The product development process and philosophies will change based on a few other factors. The five factors I think will be key to this change are:
- Personalisation and individualisation
- Care for the planet
- Changing Global Perceptions
- Ethics, Society and Compassion
In the coming weeks, I’ll talk about each of these factors individually, trying my best to explain what these mean for the future of product development.