What is meant by “Product Definition?” Product definition is actually very simple–though often done improperly. Definition answers the question, “What do you want your product or services to do?” A simple question, but answering this question before any other work is done on your product will help you on your path to innovation.
Careful, the most common mistake in product definition is defining your product with technology. When you define your product with technology, you are limiting yourself in the long run. Henry Ford was once quoted saying, “If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me “A faster horse.’”
True innovation is not about providing consumers with the next fastest horse. True innovation replaces the box.
Imagine if Apple had entered the mobile music industry with the mindset, “We will make the most advanced CD player anyone has ever seen”. At the time, hard disk media players were expensive and not practical–in fact, there was very little demand from consumers. Designing the next best CD Player would have been the safe-logical business move on paper and may have put Apple on top for a few months, but it wouldn’t have been innovative and we wouldn’t have iPods today. Instead of designing the next best CD player Apple asked the question, “What do people want?” Music. ”Ok, let’s design a product that gives people access to their music.”
Figure out what you want your product to do, and then worry about the how.