Knowing what the future service offer will look like
Innovation normally takes shape in form of new products which leads to the term of product innovation and to the process of product development. Product innovations are the starting point for product strategies which are supported variously through the use of scenarios.
Scenarios in the context of strategic product planning
The strategic product planning comprises the whole process from generating product and business ideas to the development of product visions and product strategies in the narrower sense. Scenarios are especially deployed in the early stages of product development. Central application areas are:
- Using scenarios as a starting point for product ideas: Scenarios can be developed extremely far. They are able to illustrate market environments concisely, so that on their basis new products can be constructed. This requires a deep understanding and occupation with new markets and future customer demands.
- Using scenarios as a testing environment for product ideas: Scenarios can be developed so they can be used as test environments for product ideas. In this way the overall suitability as well as the robustness of product ideas can be tested. In the context of product planning, market potentials of new products can be estimated.
- With scenarios to product visions: A product vision describes how the service portfolio of a company or division should look like in the future. Therefore, it expresses which value added for which customer with which services should be rendered. Insofar we interpret the project visions in the context of innovation management as a concretization of product and business ideas.
- Development of product roadmaps: Development steps from the present to the future are linked and visualized in a product roadmap. Although roadmapping processes differ distinctly in the dependency of application areas, there are five superior steps: (1) the definition of the roadmap architecture and observed objects, (2) the preview with the help of scenarios (3) the generating of a roadmap,(4) a completeness – and consistency analysis as well as (5) an evaluation of roadmap and its perpetuation.
In practice the strategic product planning has a narrow connection to new markets and new technologies and might even lead to new business models.