New product development. 
This was a final year paper in my degree, which covered:
    • Product development process
    • Innovation
    • Idea generation
    • Opportunity recognition and screening
    • Product strategy
    • New product project and portfolio management
    • Factors affecting success and failure
A major part of the internal assessment was weighted on a business plan for the development of an original new product concept.

At least five new product ideas must have been generated and screened before a business plan could be drawn up.

Summary of the Business Plan for Wake Technologies: 
Produced by James Meharry 

    Wake Technologies 
    Wake Technologies is a new organisation intending to enter the leisure industry with a specialised product for the wake boarding market.  The product concept combines windsurfer and water skiing technology into a product, which allows boarders to obtain more air off the wake. 

    The main target market for this product will be males in the 15 to 35 age bracket, who are already engaged in recreational wake boarding, knee boarding or barefoot water skiing.  This target segment is not particularly price sensitive and they are willing to pay extra for a high quality product, which meets their needs. 

    The overall market is estimated to be in the vicinity of 205,000 units, which would generate sales of around $102,500,000 world-wide.  The main markets would be in the United States and Europe, with smaller sales expected in Australia and New Zealand.  Competition is likely to be intense in the United States but only moderate elsewhere. 

    The company is expected to attain a sustainable competitive advantage by differentiating its products and by focussing its marketing efforts on a small niche market which lends itself to a low volume-high price strategy 

    Development of the product is expected to take approximately 6 months, with a further six months allocated to testing the prototype under normal conditions of usage.  The main difficulty envisaged is, to ensure that the design is strong enough to resist stress breakage's. 

    Wake Technologies is seeking venture capital of $300,000 to finance the development, introduction and sale of the product.  In return, investors can expect to receive a return on investment of 15% per annum. 

The concept:

Extended masts increase the vertical lift of the boarder off the wake for better air manoeuvres and greater hang times for tricks.  Changing the height of the mast, allows for an upward pull during the takeoff and while floating in the air.  With this change of angle and the continuous forward motion of the boat, the pull stays even and upward, keeping the boarder in the air for an extra couple of seconds.

The product:

The product combines windsurfer technology, a standard ski pole and some kiwi ingenuity, to produce a specialised product designed to withstand the vertical pull and high loading associated with water sports. 

the ski pole would be connected to a floor mounted fitting at the rear of the boat, with a base diameter of between 40 & 45 mm.  The ski pole would be placed down through a hole in the transom and attached to the floor fitting using a bolt system.  This ski pole would form a stainless steel sleeve to house the mast, which would be approx. 1500 mm in length, from the top of the ski pole fitting, and would taper to a diameter of approx. 20 mm at the tip.  Reinforcing would be required at the stress point where the mast leaves the standard fitting and at any other point where stress is likely. 

The mast would be constructed of a combination of glass and carbon fibre, however, depending on the loads incurred, glass fibre may be an adequate and cheaper alternative, as weight is not an important factor.  The mast would be an even thickness all round so that loadings from different directions wouldn't cause any problems. 

The tip would be made of stainless steel and be reinforced around the D clip area (where the tow rope attaches to the mast). 

Once the product and the market are established, the focus of the strategy would shift from product development to market development.  If the product became profitable enough and other products were introduced to the portfolio, then vertical integration might be a possibility in the long term. 

Copyright 1997: No part of this publication may be reproduced either in whole or in part without the written permission of James Meharry.
  Curriculum Vitae: James Meharry