An Introduction to Market Engineering

Market Engineering Helps You Accelerate the Acceptance of Your New Technology, Product, or Innovation

The success of a new technology or innovation is often hampered by the fundamental error of misunderstanding the difference between diffusion and adoption. Using the principle of market engineering makes business success for likely.

An innovation is an idea, behavior, or product that is perceived as new by its audience. Unfortunately that audience doesn’t automatically or simultaneously accept even the best ideas or most useful innovations.

The success of a new technology, product or innovation is often hampered or even permanently blocked by the fundamental error of misunderstanding the difference between “diffusion” and “adoption.” And even within these two different processes, there is widespread failure to see the entirety of the process.

The term “Gestalt” is a psychological theory that emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts. That is, the attributes of the whole are not deducible from analysis of the parts in isolation. Market Engineering seeks to explain how innovations are taken up in a population, using the perspectives of BOTH the end user and society as a whole.

Definitions and Use

Adoption is an individual process detailing the series of stages one undergoes from first hearing about a product to finally adopting it. Diffusion, however, signifies a group process, which suggests how an innovation spreads among individual end users. Overall, the diffusion process essentially encompasses the adoption process of several individuals over time. In other words, adoption is an individual or organizational process that leads to diffusion as a systemic or cultural process.

The “diffusion of innovations” theory, and the adoption theories that coincide with it, are most useful when applied to new product introductions. While it can also be useful when taking an existing product to a new market, the diffusion theory is more effective when the product or service is an entirely new concept.

The Market Engineering Framework

Market Engineering amplifies and clarifies these two theories of change. Instead of focusing on persuading individuals to change, it sees change as being primarily about the evolution of both products and people, so that products become a better fit for the changing needs of individuals and groups.

Evolution is a key principle in Market Engineering. The success of a new product depends on how well it evolves to meet the needs of more and more demanding and risk-averse individuals in a population. And the benefits to society depend on how people change their behavior to accommodate and integrate the use of a new product.

For rapid acceptance and uptake of a new product, CEOs, entrepreneurs and change agents must focus on understanding the entire population or target audience, not just a sequence of adopter groups. And they need to account for how the use of a product spreads across users in order for the new product to have maximum impact.

The Market Engineering framework offers three valuable insights into the processes of accelerating your new-product success:

  • It describes the qualities that make your new product or innovation spread.
  • It explains the importance of viewing your audience as a whole, rather than a collection of individual segments.
  • It teaches you how to discover the needs of different market segments, AND the entire audience you serve.

The concept of product evolution is important because it tells us that no product or innovation can appeal to all end users throughout the product lifecycle. Continuous evolution through the addition of intangible attributes is the key to spreading an innovation. A good way to achieve this is to make end users into partners and create a continuous process of product evolution.

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