The 4 Ps of successful product development: People, Planet, Partnerships and Profit — Innovation Insider

This session was sponsored by Medilink Midlands

This panel session at Venturefest West Midlands 2024 focused on the identification and discussion of the role of the 4 Ps of product innovation, development and commercialisation – People, Planet, Partnerships and Profit – and the ways these interconnect to create a successful product.

The panel of Christian Kumar, Chief Executive Officer MedTech Makers Lab; Mel Davidson, CEO Medilink Midlands; David Phasey, 3P Innovation; Mark Evans, Partner, Crowe LLP; and Andy Whyle, Advisor at Sustainability West Midlands, discussed the importance of adoption of the 4Ps and their role in innovation. The session was sponsored by Medilink Midlands.

Panel introductions and discussion helped us understand what the 4 Ps are:

  • People – It is essential to design a product with the people who will ultimately use it in mind, whether or not they are your immediate customer. Whilst this may be obvious in some sectors, like healthcare, usability is always important if your product is to have longevity in the market. People, of course, are also all those who support your business in various ways, which links to partnerships, below.
  • Place/Planet – Active and positive sustainability consideration of the impact of your product on the environment are critical – it is both the right thing to do but increasingly a market imperative. This is everything from design to materials, manufacturing, packaging, transport, communications, along with clarifying your supply chains credentials and the re use and end of life consideration.
  • Partnerships – Business and commercial relationships are key to successful businesses, so reach out and develop a wide and supportive network. Try them out and don’t be afraid to move on if they are not right for you. There is lots of help in identifying the right ones for you. But remember the adage you only get out what you invest in.
  • Profit – We are all in business for profit – but this may be profit to people and the environment as well as financial. Setting your vision in these areas and taking steps to achieve these in a planned way is essential to the introduction of innovative ideas. Including a good accountant/advisor will help you consider and prioritise all areas of profit.

The discussion with the audience explored how, whilst all of these are important in their own right they also interact. Creating the right business culture that fosters innovation, sustainability and user-relevance, whilst retaining the problem solving and commercial focus critical to success.

Partnerships and connectivity are important for support on the lonely road of an innovator, there is help out there to find the right networks for your business and to help grow the depth and breadth of relationships. User centric design (People) that encompass both product design and user design for success, with positive user experience to add longevity to your product. Design that takes account of the environment (Planet) from conception to end of life consideration are also increasingly becoming more important for the planet, but also it is increasingly what customers want. Second life is very on trend along with circular economy.

Innovation as an art form is not new – but to make a successful business (Profit) based on innovation we need to speed up the time to generating revenue, i.e. making money, as this is what enables reinvestment, growth of people and resources. Identifying a product’s sustainable competitive advantage over time supports further innovation and investment. Keeping a clear focus on return on investment and profitability is a critical KPI for all innovators and businesses.

Rachel Eade, Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education

Text reads: Locally-led Innovation Accelerators delivered in partnership with Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, Innovate UK and City Regions.

Logos include: Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, Innovate UK, West Midlands Combined Authority and Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands