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Driving New Product Development at an Established Company

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It’s clear that the only way for a company to survive over the long term is to successfully evolve the company’s product offering. Companies that have rested on their prized revenue streams found themselves on a slow death march to oblivion. As an example, take a look at former Boston area titans: Wang Computer, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Polaroid.

The current success stories, that everyone likes to talk about, are Google and Apple. Google has been successful in evolving their product offering by investing in opportunities that have been tangential to their main business of search. Apple revived itself by transforming their hardware and software into indispensable technology for the masses.

At Terrible Labs we’re constantly trying to evolve our own product offering by being current on new technologies and design practices that will better help our clients solve their business problems. One example of this has been our effort to bolster our mobile design and development service offerings. Since making that investment, we’ve seen our mobile business grow from nothing into nearly 50% of our revenue each year.

As a leading product design and development shop, we have the privilege of working with many established companies to help them exploit new business opportunities through technology applications. One of those companies is MeYou Health, a subsidiary of the benefits provider, Healthways.

MeYou Health is a company that is constantly surveying their industry to find opportunities where technology can solve a problem for their network of subscribers. I recently caught up with Jake Butler, Product Manager at MeYou Health, to learn more about how their company identifies and ultimately pursues various market opportunities.

For Jake, new business and product opportunities reveal themselves when the team can apply their product approach to a market trend in the health or well-being space. “The market dictates the general space we’re going to move into: overall well-being, physical activity, weight management, smoking cessation, etc. Once we’ve established a market opportunity, we begin a process to see how our core design principles like small actions and an open social environment can be incorporated into this.”

After identifying various opportunities, the Heads of Product and Design, Trapper Markelz and Sean Landry, make the call on which opportunities to pursue. “While everything is undoubtedly a team effort, you’ve really got to have a single product owner to have a clear vision and direction. Trapper and Sean ensure that that we’re going in the right general direction, but ultimately, it falls on the product manager to gather requirements, ideas, and concerns from team members and other stakeholders, synthesize all that information, and drive the product towards success.”

Once a solid direction has been established, the team begins to test the viability of the product idea through design. “We start with low fidelity prototyping to validate our initial concepts internally and this is really a whole team effort. This includes everybody from game designers, UX designers, developers, content creators, implementation specialists - everybody is pitching in at this stage.”

If they see positive results in the design and user testing phase, the team will develop the product and ultimately get it to market. “Once we’ve got something with legs, we build out an MVP which we refine and continue to validate with real users. When we’re confident that we’re going down the right path, we build it to scale and deploy it to customer pilots and take it to market.”

MeYou Health has built a great business by successfully applying their product domain expertise to new market opportunities. Since their inception in 2009, the team has built over 15 web and mobile products. Some of those products have been sunsetted, some are currently in the market while others are at different stages of initial development.

If you’re looking for a great model on how to drive the creation of new products at an established company, get to know MeYou Health. Jake and team are some of the best in the business.

We’re always interested in hearing from other established companies who have been successful at developing new products. If you’re one of those companies or if you’re looking for help creating new products, shoot us an email to hi@terriblelabs.com.