Our innovation work with food clients often focuses on how to formulate products to meet consumer preferences, tastes, or trends. Want to reduce sugar? Incorporate clean label ingredients? Use alternative proteins? Introduce natural colors? Or do you want to meet another consumer demand?
Regardless of the goal, our clients share similar questions and challenges. How can they get smart at the beginning of the innovation process? What features should they include in their reformulated product? What products will let them compete most effectively? If looking at emerging markets, how can they understand local preferences? How can they lean on local partners and assure quality?
To help our clients, we use the Desirability-Feasibility-Viability (DFV) Framework. We know innovation happens at the intersection of technology, markets, and users. We find that intersection within the DFV Framework.
The Framework helps our clients identify solutions across the supply chain. It acknowledges the key challenge at any step of the innovation process. And, the Framework encourages objectivity by allowing the client to consider whether a proposed product development process takes a balanced approach.
How do we use the Desirability-Feasibility-Viability (DFV) Framework?
We start with questions that are not specific to the product or development stage, but rather can be considered universally. Here’s how it works.
It’s important that our clients understand the needs of the end-user and customer, realizing that often these groups hold different perspectives. We look at the new product’s perceived and real benefits for the users and customers and work to help our clients know what drives these groups’ purchasing and consumption decisions.
We help clients consider the process on a more fundamental level. Rather than looking at whether you have the equipment to make a product, we consider the physical, biological, contextual, and environmental requirements, and how to deliver on those technical requirements. We encourage our clients to think about how they can learn from others who have made analogous product changes, and how external products, partners, and expertise can be leveraged. The question is much broader than simply if clients can make the product in their plants. Our clients must determine if the product is manufacturable at scale within their supply chain constraints.
The question is whether the client should make this product. We help our clients identify the market opportunity and appropriate business model to scale the product. We want clients to ask who the consumer is, how the proposed solution might benefit that consumer and determine the consumer’s willingness to pay. Another important consideration is the new product’s impact on the current product portfolio. Will the solution take the focus away from strategic areas, or will it cannibalize an existing product? It’s also important to define whether the product can get from production to distribution to the consumer within the desired shelf life.
Remember: Balance is important.
Balance is key when applying the framework. We ensure our clients they take smart, early steps, “fail fast,” and then adjust. Just as important as the framework is the advice that clients don’t go it alone; we encourage them to leverage partners to fill skill or resource gaps throughout the innovation process.
Want to know more about DFV and other tools that can fuel your innovation funnel? Let us know; we look forward to working with you.