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Steps to Build a New Digital Product, Part I

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The article discusses how digital innovation process is influenced by the market and can be improved by learning from competitors. It is a must read for digital consultants, business owners, innovation departments and business development specialist looking to develop new products or services.

In my day job, my principle work is to develop new digital products and services. I often find that developing products and services are straightforward, although the analysis which goes behind it is complex, often requiring lots of number-crunching and data analysis before I convince the chief financial officer (CFO) and upper management to commission the budget. The management at first might not understand the value of the product/service from a competitive standpoint; hence, it is the innovator’s work to put together a financial analysis to quantify the opportunity.

In this and the following article, I am proposing nine steps to plan development of a new digital media product.

Step 1: Research Current Audience

Before developing a digital project, the innovator should analyze the current audience and trends. Some of the leading digital media products are created in collaboration with their audience. A good example is Twitter, which opened its platform so other developers could decide the direction of the company's future. Companies with an existing audience have the advantage of conducting interviews or following the audience's digital footprint to analyze what they might want.

Knowing the typical customer's digital footprint helps in understanding information such as typical usage, expertise in using technology, acceptance to digital innovation, and other audience habits. Integrating the new product/service within an existing application might provide a quick way to access audiences. For example, if the research concludes that 90 percent of the audience is using Microsoft Outlook to access their email account, the company should invest in developing Outlook plugins to access the product/service to increase the usage.

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