Getting NPD right: the health-tech sector

Martin Wootton

The application of tech innovation to healthcare problems is genuinely transforming both the health sector and the tech sector, faster than ever before. The explosion of new ideas, start-ups and applications has shaken pharma companies, tech manufacturers and health care providers so much that many organisation are having to reshape, refocus and revise their offerings. In short, the coming together of health and tech has created a hotbed of NPD opportunities, and those that can successfully bring their innovations to market will reap massive rewards. Insights to help successfully market new products and services are now in great demand – which is why we’re seeing such demand for NPD research studies from both established players and disruptor brands.

Last year, I gathered a list of my favourite health-tech innovations, new products that made me say “Ooh, now that’s clever”. As the health-tech sector is continually evolving, I have updated the list to include interesting and clever innovations that have come out of 2019 so far:

  • Omron’s HeartGuide, a smartwatch that measures blood pressure directly from the wrist, while also tracking distance, steps, sleep quality and calories burned.
  • Oticon’s A.I. personal assistant hearing aids, which act as a personal AI assistant learning the listening preferences of the wearer and adapting to them.
  • Sport headphones that shock your brain into better athletic performance by improving the brain’s capability to learn
  • A neuro-rehabilitation wearable designed to help stroke survivors regain their independence by tracking the wearer’s movement and providing motivational support.

However, not all innovations turn into success…

Great though these new product developments are, not every fantastic innovation is going to translate into a successful business. Some products will fall by the wayside, victims of poor marketing and bad timing. In the race to get to market, it’s all too easy to presume that what’s worked in the past will work in the present. That’s why only companies with innovative ideas and marketing strategies will prosper rapidly.

So, how do you make sure your product/marketing strategy is spot on?

Before launch, smart marketers will do their research to check whether there is a genuine market for new products and services: that there’s more than just a novelty factor – an actual group of people out there who will pay you money. Even smarter marketers won’t just do research with their customers and prospects: they’ll also research their channel partners and market influencers, to maximise the impact and minimize the risk of sticking points in the supply chain. Both consumers and business customers are increasingly reliant on the opinions of people and sites they trust, so it’s vital to get these people on board.

But, you can’t just ask people what they think…

When it comes to new concept testing, however, doing market research doesn’t just mean asking people explicitly what they think about your new product and how much they’d buy it for. It means tapping into behavioural science and System 1 thinking, to understand the subconscious drivers of choice and the emotions that underpin a product’s appeal. The wearables boom and explosion of apps haven’t just helped fuel the boom in health-tech innovation; they’ve also triggered new innovations and applications for the market researcher.

Using behavioural science to see the whole picture…

Applying neuroscience techniques and new wearable technology to research enables us to get a truly complete understanding of what a customer really thinks – even if sometimes they themselves don’t realise it. Take, for example, the amusing news story about US soldiers inadvertently giving away the location of military bases in Syria through their use of the fitness app, Strava.

 Innovative markets need innovative insights

The pace of change is such that you can only rely on fresh, intelligently gathered insights to ensure your product and service marketing is successful in such a dynamic market. Fast, agile insights that feed almost instantly into NPD and launch strategy will make the difference between success and failure. Our health and tech focus, and our innovative methodologies make us likely to be the ideal insight provider for you. Get in touch with our new product development experts to ensure you are taking all the right steps to make your product a success.