jigtech door installation concept renders

Since 1986 the UK’s R&D investment has grown by 96% making it to date 1.74% of the country’s GDP. The goal is to grow this to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

More investment into innovation is welcome, but with 60-80% of innovative products failing it’s important to find opportunity in uncertainty.

When done well innovation can change and positively impact people’s lives. Some of the most relevant products came from good innovation, such as smartphones, electric cars and capsule endoscopy technology. Innovation is worth investing in, but what holds people back? 

We’ve weighed up innovation barriers we’ve experienced over the years and want to use these to clear the path for successful innovation. Here are the 9 common pitfalls of innovation you can easily avoid.


1. Unclear benefit to the consumer


Do you remember the Juicero Press?

An engineered juicer that quickly squeezed tailor-made juice packs into a glass. For years, this start-up was flying high with investors. Until it went to market, and consumers noticed they didn’t need the expensive and complicated press to get the juice out the packs.

This is a prime example of how missing the consumer benefit is one of the most common innovation pitfalls.


Design Manager, Tim Stern, remarks:


“This is about not only asking the right questions but ensuring we answer the correct ones.

We can highlight issues in every product or service of but is there a real need, benefit and driver for change in answering the problem?

We need to ensure the problem is worth solving.”


2. Lack of purpose


A product needs a clear reason to exist. What is its purpose? And in this new era of product design, people want more than the benefit to the individual. They want the product to have an overarching positive impact.

Can it help reduce people’s carbon footprint? Does it support local communities? What greater purpose for society and the planet does this product serve?


3. Lack of focus


Creating a new product is exciting and the more ideas the better.

It is, however, a common pitfall to have too many ideas and lose track of the end goal.

A clear evaluation stage is needed to keep the creativity on track.


Senior Mechanical Designer, John Greenwood, adds:


Getting the brief right at the very beginning of any project is of upmost importance.

If information is poor, you are unlikely to get the completed design right (Good Input In = Good Input Out).

A ‘Brief and New Part Release Document’ improves communication and allows the team to fully agree and sign off the initial stage successfully.

Furthermore concepts, 3D CAD visuals and drawings can then be completed, agreed and signed off to create the design to client spec."


4. Lack of leadership


You’ve got enough on your plate with the day job, and sometimes you simply need to be able to delegate to a reliable partner. 

By involving stakeholders at an early stage, we can make sure the project leadership is clear and productive too. 

We don’t believe leadership falls onto just one pair of shoulders, but rather it is everyone’s job to keep things on track.



5. Lack of market orientation


Innovative products fail when there are no answers to who will buy the product, why it will matter to them, and which alternative products you’ll be up against.


In our experience, a successful path to market needs good consumer insight, competitor analysis and trends insight. Without these your market orientation could be wrong from the get-go.



6. Lack of specialism

Ideation, realisation, testing, production, manufacturing, marketing – there’s a lot to keep in mind when developing a product.

No matter how big or small your brand is, you can’t do it alone. So many products fail due to a lack of specialist skills within any of these areas.



7. Lack of testing


Designs need to be iterated to make sure they work. Not just in principle, but in real life. Innovation fails when the testing stage is rushed. What are usually simple fixes in the testing phase, can soon turn into costly redesigns after launch.

Basically, don’t invest too much in the early idea stages. Instead prototype and test as quickly and frequently as possible to learn quickly and evolve the design into the best solution.


8. Lack of pragmatism


Realising a product needs pragmatism.

If the features are compromised due to not enough testing or if corners had to be cut within manufacturing to make the unit price affordable, then there’s a real danger of the outcome not matching what you promise consumers.



9. Too much fear and uncertainty


Uncertainty breads fear and the bigger that fear grows, the more likely innovation is to fail. This failure often has nothing to do with the quality of the idea or the development.

That’s why we believe in mitigating risks as early as possible and finding viable solutions to said risks fast. This enables you to address concerns and reassure your investors with real data.


Avoid the innovation pitfalls 

You can avoid these innovation pitfalls with a product design consultancy of the new era. Let us support you in your product development journey. 


Contact us for a meeting and we’ll show you how purpose-led innovation can lead to product success.

The 9 common pitfalls of innovation

Image of Aaron Seager

By Aaron Seager