Product Innovation: Types & Examples

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  • 0:03 Product Innovation
  • 0:51 New Products
  • 2:30 Improved Versions
  • 3:37 More Examples
  • 4:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After completing this lesson, you'll understand what makes a new product innovative. You'll see that it's not just about making something to sell for profit, but rather making something that has more uses and inspires and drives further creativity.

Product Innovation

Product innovation involves creating new products or improved versions of existing products that increase their uses. This innovation can be in the product's own functionality, or it can take the form of new technology. Think about how often cell phone manufacturers and car manufacturers make new versions of their products. For example, car manufacturers make one new car each year. Cell phone manufacturers tend to release a new version of their phones every few years. In doing so, the manufacturer tries to introduce something unique. Product innovation is all about improving upon what you have. You take customer feedback and you turn it into an improved product.

Let's take a look at the two types of product innovation:

New Products

The first type of product innovation involves introducing a new product. However, you can't introduce just any new product. This new product must solve an existing problem in a new and exciting way. Or the product needs to solve a completely new problem that has arisen.

For example, at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, the electronics company LG introduced a new type of screen that's so flexible you can roll it up like a newspaper. This used to be the realm of science fiction movies, but now it's a real product that could become readily available to everybody in a short time. This innovative product solves the problem of portability - instead of using a larger, unwieldy screen, people can show a video on a screen that they can fold up when they are done and put it in their bag.

New innovative products can introduce new technologies or a new way to do something. For example, when the gas and electric-powered lawn mower came out, it made mowing lawns a little less manual. With the introduction of engine-powered mowers, people now had another option when it came to cutting their lawns. They could either purchase the manual reel mower that relied strictly on muscle power to mow the lawn, or they could purchase a powered lawn mower that used motor power to cut the grass. This was innovative because you now only had to pass over a patch of grass once, whereas before you may have needed to push the reel mower over the same patch repeatedly before getting everything cut.

Improved Versions

Another type of product innovation involves introducing improved versions of existing products. This doesn't mean, for example, that you simply upgrade the type of paint you use; it means that you add more functionality to the product or make the functionality work even better.

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