If you answered “the competition,” you’re far from alone. In our experience, companies making decisions about developing and launching new products commonly fail to anticipate their rivals’ motivations and actions.1 Moreover, the failure often contributes to innovation-related disappointments, many of which are below the radar and quite insidious: your rival, for example, discounts prices to encourage customers to stock up on its product rather than try yours, ties up distributors so you can’t get shelf space, or duplicates your service to dissuade consumers from switching.
- How much of a lead or leap—technological or otherwise—must we make in the next generation of our product or service?
- How might our new product or service stand up to the pressures of the existing—and, potentially, the new—competitive landscape?
- What price point will our product or service support and sustain?
- Which product classes will face the most competition, and will supply-side dynamics or customer demand drive it?
- Can we adapt any of our existing products to differentiate them further for the geographies or segments that will face the most pressure?
- Which customer segments will our competitors focus on, and how do these segments overlap with the ones our new offering targets?
- What ideas could put our product or service out of business in the next one to three years?
- Can we create value and continued appeal with our service given the possible responses of attackers and other competitors, our responses to them, and their responses to our responses, over a defined period of time?
- What next versions and extensions are required to keep our idea in play, sustainable and scalable, and how do we start building them now?