In this blog, let’s make certain that your hard work on a product idea turns out well.

My four-decade experience in new product development underlies the certainty. A limitation is that my experience is with business-to-business ideas, not business-to-consumer.

My NPD experience includes …

  • Successful completion of 400+ b2b market research projects … as an inventor, manager, and consultant.
  • Building a reliable interviewing approach for finding out why a product idea really appeals to prospects.

At the heart of my approach is acquiring skill in elicitation. This skill is an art as well as a science. People acquire it by a lot of real-world practice.

Elicitation is a technique used to discreetly gather information. It’s a conversation with a specific purpose …  collect information that is not readily available. The conversation can be in person or over the phone.” … FBI


Elicitation digs out digs out valuable information missed by customary market research tools. This information guides needed changes as the idea moves through the NPD process.

  • Skilled elicitors place the interviewee in the role of the Professor.
         Professors will volunteer little-known information to intelligent pupils.
  • Elicitor remains in the role of the Intelligent Pupil.
         Intelligent Pupils use open-ended questions driven by an agenda.

In NPD, there are six tasks.

Two pre-funnel tasks. 1. Create and screen product ideas and 2. Meet management’s guidelines.

  • Best firms place no more than 4 product ideas into the NPD funnel.
    • Best firms have product success rates of up to 70%.
  • Rest firms place up to 11 product ideas into the funnel.
    • Rest firms have product success rates as low as 40%..
  • An impressive competitive advantage for the best firms ... their cumulative cost to produce one successful product is 45% lower than the rest firms

Four funnel tasks. 1. Business analysis, 2. Business development, 3. Test & validation, and
4. Commercialization

Best firms …

    • Identify the real value a product idea creates for customers.
    • Identify early adopters and latent needs.
    • Identify unexpected competitors’ dynamics and potential partners.


At the heart of my interviewing approach is strong skill in elicitation. I focus on the whole message a Professor is sending. I analyze what that message means for product success.  Do so, and hard work on your product idea will turn out well.