Businesses Pursuing New Product Development

With the aftermath of globalization, companies are carefully thinking about the best ways to extend their product and service offering. Thus, product development strategy is critical for their success. Yet, many companies are in defensive mode and merely want to maintain the position in the market place.

However, staying in a holding position is a definite way for companies to be left behind. Innovative thinking that allows for product/service growth is a too sure way for sustainable success. In today’s discussion, we will explore the importance of product development for the growth of businesses, especially in a competitive market.

Launching into new product offerings is not easy. According to one market research, approximately 75% of consumer-packaged goods and retail products fail to earn even $7.5 million during their first year. Harvard Business School Professor, Clayton Christensen, who is the world’s foremost authority on disruptive innovation, suggests that the failure rate of new products may actually be as high as 95%. Product failure rates relate to the number of products that are launched commercially but fail.

Geoffrey A. Moore, the author of Crossing the Chasm, maintains the challenges of product deployment: “… the less successful product is often arguably superior. No content to slink off the stage without some revenge, this sullen and resentful crew casts about among themselves to find a scapegoat, and whom do they light upon? With unfailing consistency and unerring accuracy, all fingers point to-the vice president of marketing. It is marketing’s fault!” Thus, new product development is a risky proposition to senior executives making these critical positions as well as the organization as a whole.

Businesses that want sustainable growth must develop new product and services often and consistently. Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller, authors of Marketing Management, “In an economy of rapid change, continuous innovation is a necessity. Highly innovative firms are able to identify and quickly seize new market opportunities.”

In taking any actions on new product development, businesses should think strategically about their product development. Alexander Chernev, the author of Strategic Marketing Management, further argues that managing growth is the most preferred route to profitability compared to just cutting cost.

He outlines four key issues in managing growth, which include: (a) gaining and defending a market position, (b) managing sales growth, (c) new product development, and (d) product-line management. Chernev maintains, “New products and services are the keys to sustainable growth; they enable companies to gain and sustain their market position by taking advantage of the changes in the market to create superior customer value.”

With that said, new product development meaning having the ability to take a product or service idea and convert it into a tangible offering that customers want. The following are the steps that more products undergo for market consumption: (a) idea generation, (b) concept development, (c) business analysis, (d) product development, (e) market testing, and (f) business deployment.

The Ansoff Matrix is a strategic tool for product development, consisting of market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification. In market penetration strategy, organizations seek to grow using its existing product offerings in existing markets. With this strategy in mind, organizations try to increase market share. In a market development strategy, companies try to expand into new markets like new buyers using their existing offerings. In product development strategy, businesses seek to create new products and services targeted at its existing buyers.

In a diversification strategy, an organization tries to grow its market share by introducing new product offerings while at the same time entering a new market. Diversification is the most-risky approach due to simultaneous making new changes (new product, new market). Kotler and Keller further maintain the difficulty of sustainable product success: “It is increasingly difficult to identify blockbuster products that will transform a market, but continuous innovation can force competitors to play catch-up.” The concept sounds easy. However, it is riddled with problems.

Without a doubt, many companies know that product development is a risky business. Although many consumers will proudly proclaim the success of many innovative products like Apple and Google, these same buyers are not aware of the numerous product launch failures in this country. In our discussion, I demonstrated the importance of product development for the growth of businesses, especially in a competitive market. Failures often lead to innovation.

American great inventor, Thomas Edison, had his own share of failures, but learned how to innovate because of them: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Likewise, today’s businesses can also achieve success if they understand how to deploy their products and services to the marketplace strategically. Although there is enormous danger in failure, there is also the opportunity of unforeseen growth. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Creating a Recreation Area at Home

Working out regularly has numerous health benefits including controlling weight, decreasing the risk for stroke and type 2 diabetes, improving your mood, and promoting better sleep. Swimming is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that can be completed daily to achieve these benefits. Enclosing your pool will allow you to reap the benefits of swimming year-round, instead of only during favorable weather. An enclosed pool is also an excellent space to create a recreational area to add variety to your workouts.

Planning will play a major part in the creation of a recreational area. One of the first things to consider is the type of activities you would like to enjoy. Are you going to share the pool enclosure with a more traditional idea of a home gym complete with weight benches and free weights, or are you going to create a more family friendly space, for playing games such as basketball and volleyball.

If you plan to incorporate activities utilizing various types of balls, polycarbonate may be the preferred glazing option in that portion of the pool enclosure. Polycarbonate is an impact resistant material that allows natural light to enter the space. This will ensure that any object that may strike the walls and/or ceiling will not require one to have replacement glass on standby.

Adding a folding glass wall or glass curtain wall will allow you to separate the two areas. This division will help prevent unwanted objects from ending up in the pool during an intense game, and will also help prevent the resulting humidity from encroaching into the workout space. Incorporating ridge and eave vents into the structure will provide ventilation; helping to control the temperature and humidity. Adding windows and ceiling fans will provide more air flow to the space helping to maintain the proper temperature and humidity. The separation of the two areas will also keep the moisture rich air around the pool from entering the workout area and creating rust on any metal weights that may be there.

Creating a recreation area for your home will allow you to use your pool year-round and enjoy other healthy activities, such as basketball or weight lifting. An interior dividing wall not only provides separation of the areas, but also a clear view from one end of the structure to the other; allowing you to watch your children play in the pool as you workout.

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Getting a Recreational Therapy Certification

With a growing demand for qualified professionals, a career in recreational therapy can be a great choice for anyone interested in a medical profession that does not actually involve attending medical school.

Recreational therapists play an important role in our communities in helping patients dealing with developmental and other challenges to live full and happy lives. The profession requires dedicated schooling and also attaining a recreational therapy certification, and there are a number of ways in which that can be accomplished.

Educational Requirements for Recreational Therapist

Although in the past it was possible to complete an Associate’s degree in recreational therapy, and there are still a few educational programs out there that have not yet upgraded to comply with recent changes in the field, a Bachelor’s degree is generally required.

Additionally, it is essential for those attending programs to ensure that they are accredited schools, since failure to do so will likely affect the graduate’s ability to sit for their recreational therapy certification examinations.

This is standard policy in both the US and Canada, although there are a number of educational options for completing that degree and becoming eligible for certification.

In the UK, and a number of other countries, professionals working in different recreational therapy areas are schooled and registered according to specialty such as art therapy, music therapy and more.

These specialties are earned as part of the educational curriculum for general medicine or physiotherapy, and not as their own degree.

Although there are a number of certificate and “diploma” courses available for those seeking a career in recreational therapy, students will want to be very careful in assessing them. Unless obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher, graduates will likely be ineligible to take their certification examinations.

Certification in Recreational Therapy

Once graduated, students in the US and Canada must become certified before they can seek employment, and then licensed, depending on the state or province.

Although there are a few regions which do not actually require certification, those are few and far between, and even so, most employers seek certified individuals to hire.

Certification greatly increases a graduate’s qualifications for a much wider array of job opportunities, so it is strongly recommended that all graduates go through the certification process.

Unlike with many other healthcare industry professions, there are three main ways in which candidates can qualify to get their certification. The first and main way of doing so is to graduate from an accredited, specific therapeutic recreation educational program and earn a Bachelor’s degree.

The second way involves having a Bachelor’s degree in any major from an accredited institution, having also completed certain social science and humanities courses, and having at least 5 years minimum of paid job experience in therapeutic recreation services; students can also qualify with a graduate’s degree in any major, along with the above mentioned courses and at least 3 years of job experience.

Certification Examination

The third way in which students can become eligible to take the certification examination is by having a Bachelor’s or graduate degree in any major from an accredited institution, having also completed courses in social sciences, humanities, anatomy, physiology, abnormal psychology and human growth and development.

Along with at least one year of paid job experience in therapeutic recreation services. All employment must be recent, and under the supervision of a recreational therapist who holds a CTRS certification. Work in administrative service or other positions that do not include direct patient contact are generally ignored.

With these different options, it is possible for students who have already started school and have either changed their direction, or wish to do so, to still complete their education in such a way that they will be eligible for certification. It is recommended however that students taking one of these alternative paths verify that the supplemental courses they wish to enroll in will fulfill these requirements.

In the US, the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) handles all recreational therapy certification, and accreditation of educational institutions is governed by the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE).

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