Some of the well-informed customers often figure out what improvements need to be made before other customers are aware. Some ideas are also arrived at by figuring what the products lack and rushing to bridge the gap.
Sony is known for its innovative products. With Apple iPod being a tremendous success with a market share of 80% in the digital portable media player market and sold over 30 million iPod devices by 2005. A market research of about 20,000 iPod consumers was undertaken in order to receive a feedback.
The sample was random and consisted of subjects surveyed in diverse geographical areas of the country. The target segment included current iPod users and future iPod purchasers as well as those who were planning to purchase a home theatre system or a high-level stereo system within the next year.
The fact that emerged most often was that multiple numbers of speakers were utilized to project sound in the room, and this was slightly cumbersome and the positioning required some effort. The separate speakers like the Dolby Surround Sound 5.1 standard based speakers, required several wires to be installed and once the speakers were installed, their positions were fixed and hence the sound was confined to the one spot. Portability was an issue. The survey subjects welcomed the idea of a single integrated speaker doing the work of the multiple ones.
Brainstorming sessions were held to discuss the gap in the market for such a product. With the spark for an idea generated, the cross-functional team consisting of consisting of engineers, market researchers, financial analysts and advertising agencies met to discuss and develop the concept.
The benefits of having a cross-functional team served to bring in expertise from all related departments. The diversity of the team members brought in different cultural viewpoints that added to decision making potential. It helped reduce inefficiencies because problems were addressed in the initial process itself, rather than addressing them afterwards, that might have proved costly at the end of the product development process.
The idea generation sessions that were on going, specific and involved, resulted in several viable alternatives. These were carefully screened to see
if they aligned closely to the goals and strategy of Sony
they were compatible to the existing production and packaging lines
could be marketed through the current distribution channels and
promotional expenditure that would be required
Concept Development and Testing
Careful analysis of the concept design, product/packaging prototype, justification, feasibility, delivery model was undertaken. The need for an integrated speaker replacing several speakers capable of throwing sound to various areas in the room was an exciting product idea to pursue. The ability of a transportable speaker that would be versatile and more usable was a stimulating concept.
The product would be Sony's new spherical speaker that can be placed in the middle of a room to project sound in all directions. This would be instead of the consumer having to buy many speakers to project the sound inwards. It