Title: Time-to-value, customer learning, and the development of breakthrough products

Authors: Chialin Chen, Hamid Noori

Addresses: Queen's School of Business, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada. ' School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5, Canada

Abstract: Breakthrough products often have more complex built-in technology and functionality than their traditional counterparts. Since most customers do not have prior experience with breakthrough products, they usually spend more significant time, money, and/or effort in learning their innovative features. In this paper, we develop a conceptual model with supporting cases to provide some critical insights to the development of breakthrough products from an integrative perspective of design and marketing. Our analysis shows that the amount of learning time has significant impacts on the success of a breakthrough product in today|s marketplace where many customers are impatient or not technologically ready. A customer may terminate the learning process before the entire embedded value of a product is realised or even before her utility is maximised due to learning difficulty or product complexity. We also discuss several useful guidelines and strategies that can be used to manage the development of breakthrough products.

Keywords: marketing-design integration; product strategy; breakthrough products; knowledge management; product development; product design; learning time; product complexity; customer learning; marketing; time-to-value; learning process.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2005.005942

International Journal of Product Development, 2005 Vol.1 No.3/4, pp.261 - 279

Published online: 03 Jan 2005 *

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