Technical Questioning and Mission Statement
Today we will start the Product Development Stages. As I told you there are 3 different
stages in product developments, the first one being understanding the opportunity. We saw in
the last class there are different stages in understanding the opportunity also. We will look at
the first part of understanding the opportunity, how do we actually identify a good
opportunity to develop a new product so that is going to be the discussion today.
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Here as I told you that there are 4 stages. Develop a Vision is the first part. How do you
develop a new vision for a new product or a vision document for a new product? Suppose, I
want to develop a new product, what should be my starting point or how should I convey my
vision to other members in a team. Although if I want to discuss with others what will be the
binding documents which will tell me for this is what I want to develop and these are visions
for these products. That is basically known as to develop a vision.
At the end of this stage what will be having is a Mission Statement. We will try to develop a
mission statement which will actually tell you what is the mission you have in developing
this product or why you are doing this, how you are planning to do this, and it is a very
preliminary stage you do not have much data but these are basically you won’t understanding
about the product requirements, customer need, etc., and then later on you will go and verify
this through different stages like market opportunity, customer need, etc., but initially you
tell, this is what I am going to do. That is the mission statement to be developed for making a
We will answer these questions, you can see what Albert Einstein said, making the problem
clear is more important than finding a solution. Once your problem is very well defined,
clearly, then you can find a solution. Product development should also be very clear about
what you want to develop, then you can actually develop it without much difficulty.
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We will actually look at this in the mission statement. First what to develop, I mean you want
to develop a completely new product, you want to develop a completely new technology, or
you are looking for modifying an existing product through a different process of design,
basically redesign or going for a variant design whatever it is.
What you want to do is basically what to develop and then we will look at how we decide,
how do you say particular technology, there are different technologies available for doing
something. Can I say use a particular technology or should I develop a new technology. This
can actually be answered by something called Technology Forecasting or S Curve.
How do we forecast the future of a technology and then see whether you can use the
technology or you have to develop a new technology so, that is basically known as S curves
and how the S curves can be used in new product development and then we will see how do
you answer the questions that you have heard about the products and then compare to a
This is known as technical questioning and developing a mission statement. You ask many
questions to yourself or to others to understand the issues in the product and then use all these
information and make a mission statement. This is the goal of this particular discussion, we
will see how to develop mission statement based on technical questioning.
At the end of this stage mission statement you will have a gate analysis so this is 1 stage and
then you will have a get analysis and you have to decide whether GO or NO GO, GO means
yes you can continue, NO GO means no, no your mission statement clearly tells that it
cannot be done or it does says it is a difficult task probably you do not take it forward that is a
NO GO statement and this will be decided by an upper management, you do not take the
decision, someone else will take the decision whether your mission statement is clear and it
has got a feature to move forward.
Will be having an intent to develop and finally you will have a development plan at the end
of mission statement. This is what we are going to discuss. But let us see how people start
developing new products, so you might have seen products coming into the market.
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Let us see some of these products which are called the most 6 important inventions. You will
see in day to day life, you will see a lot of need for new products, and how people convert
this into products in the markets. This is an elderly assistance system for people who are very
old they have difficulty in getting up, seating and getting up and they find it very difficult and
there are not many products available in the market.
These are some of the products people have developed by looking at the requirements of the
customer or looking around and then identifying the needs and then developing products.
You know what this product is, this is to prevent injury when they fall. Elderly people, they
fall, they break their bone and if you break your bone within 2 months you will be alright but,
elderly people there bone growths already stops. It is very difficult to get it back or get it
cured, so you need to prevent the fall, and treatment is very difficult.
You try to prevent fall by developing different products for helping the elderly people. All
these help elderly people in their day to day life, this is to help a person to lie down in the bed
otherwise, somebody has to hold them to lie down but this device helps them to lie down.
That is about some products, how do you actually identify, need for the product and then how
do you go through them.
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What to develop? is the first question you need to answer, what kind of thing I should
develop. Should I go for completely new technology or refine a current product, or go for a
product verbiage. For example, I discussed this in the last class hour. In one of the classes
now you want to develop a Scooter will you go for an IC engine scooter or an electric
Pardon, electric scooter. What is the reason, technology has moved from IC engines to
electric power. Now, if you look at the technology, any technology you take, you will see a
particular pattern in the technology developments. For example, you take light, say the
electric bulb as a product, what was the first kind of electric bulb pardon, what do you call
that filament type.
If I plot the filament type technology against the time suppose, this is the time scale, and this
is the light intensity of the filament type bulb, when was the electric bulb invented? Pardon,
19th Century. So, roughly you can say the end of the Eighteen Century. Now, when this was
introduced the light intensity was very small.
Because the filament was very crude, the technology they were using for making the filament
was very crude. If you look at the intensity of the light you will see initially when it started it
slowly going up and the change in intensity was very slow over a period of time.
Then a lot of people started working on that technology and there will be a sudden growth in
the technology of filament based electric bulbs and you will see that the light intensity keeps
on increasing over a period of time. Because, a lot of people start working on developing new
technologies, new filament materials and new ways of putting them in the Air types system
And then you will see that it actually goes up suddenly like this because, there will be a lot of
people working on it and then a lot of development will take place and after some time you
will see that there is “efficiency” behind everything, we cannot develop beyond a particular
What will happen, it will slowly start venturing. That means, you cannot increase the light
intensity of cans or bulbs for this filament bulb forever, at some point of time this technology
will flatten that is you cannot use it for anymore improvement. This is the same case of IC
engine also, if you look at the IC engine efficiency instead of light intensity you should look
at the efficiency of IC engine the same thing when IC engine was invented it was very lower
efficiency and people started working on it lot of new things came up, lot of methods bicycle
changing and that reduce wall cut timing etc...
Suddenly, you will see that efficiency goes up and now what is the current efficiency of IC
engines, anybody pardon 40. Somewhere I want 20, 30 percent is the efficiency of an IC
engine. There people have been working for a long time in terms of improving the efficiency
but they found that so from the initial 5 percent it goes suddenly and now it is only a small
Change in the efficiency has come down, now it cannot be developed further. This is the case
with all kinds of technology, any technology you take, you will see that this kind of a growth
pattern can be seen that is there will be an initial slow growth and then there will be a very
fast growth of the technology and then the technology will starts flattening that you go
beyond a particular value because, that is the physics of the system and what will happen at
this point you will see that a new technology will start coming up.
When this is somewhere in the flattening stage you will see that something new will come up.
After the filament bulb what was the next type of bulbs came into the markets, what is that?
Fluorescence lamp. When this is slowing down something else will start coming like this and
it will go.
The bulb like Tube light and all became after the filament type and fluorescence lamp. Now,
that also came to a stage where you cannot do much more than that. They came up with a
slim type, without choke, electronic choke. All those things tried to improve the efficiency of
the tube light and they found that it is not possible to improve it.
What happened after that LED? When this is trying to flatten up, then somebody will start
with their new technology and will go up so, you can see this is the LED technology and this
is the fluorescence and this is the filament technology. So, every time when a new technology
comes up there will be a stage where it is slowly progressing and then there will be sudden
growth in that technology lot of people start working on it, lot of products will come out of
that and then we'll see that, all the technology has matured and it cannot go further,
something else has to start.
This is the way technology happens and this is basically known as technology forecasting or
we call it the S curve or S curve of technology This stuffily you can say S slightly inclines.
This is known as the S curve of technology so, whenever you want to develop a product you
need to look at what is the stage of technology within the S curve. Is it in the beginning or is
the rapid growth or is it in the declining or saturation's stage and based on that you need to
take a decision whether you want to use that technology for developing a new product or you
want to go for a new technology which is coming up or emerging in the market. This is
known as S curve or the technology forecasting in order to level up new products .
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To predict what technological developments can appear, first to properly introduce the
technology into your products and then typically manifest in a S curve timeline, any product
you take, take your mobile phones or washing machines or whatever the product you want to
take you will be able to see this S curve happening in the product technology, this happening
in the IC engine that is going to the electric vehicle, now electric vehicle also you will see
that after some time you have you cannot go beyond a particular level of efficiency for the
system then we may not to look for fuel cells or whatever it is coming up slowly something
else will come up and the technology will move forward.
This is something which everyone should understand and you are trying to develop a product,
what is the level of current technology and how you can leverage on the technology now .
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This is what I already mentioned, so product always follow an S curve or the technology or
the products follows S curve and you see that it cannot how much more much improvement
in that and then we will start a new S curve will start from here similarly, and the S curve will
start technology will keep going forwards. This technology will become obsolete, this will
become obsolete and this will become the parent level of technology.
You need to understand how this technological change is happening in the markets. I will
explain about the different products. Something like a camera, if you take the camera as a
product you will see the previous cameras were based on the unlock type cameras where you
have the film and then printing. Later on, new technologies found that no more unlocked
cameras are flexible. You can have digital technology. Digital cameras will come up and then
after some time we do not know what will be the new technology coming up when the digital
technology will come to a saturation, then you will get another technology for new products.
Whenever you want to develop a new product you have to look at the new technology, what
is the level of technology in the market and accordingly you have to choose the technology
for the new products. That is the first point we need to keep in mind what technology you
should adopt for the new products. Any questions on S curve and technology forecasting
there is not us technology forecasting because you will be able to tell, what the current stage
of technology is and what will be the next stage of this technology.
You will change rapidly, so it will grow for some more time and then mandatory somewhere
in this region you should be careful not to use that technology for any product development.
There is only one exception to this rule of the S curve that is basically the Microprocessor.
All of you know what a microprocessor is, most of your computer uses a processor basically,
a microprocessor .
S-Curve and Technical Questioning
The microprocessor technology is still going straight. It is not yet saturated because, that is
basically the amount of memory you can have in a size of chip, particular size of chip what is
the level of memory that you can stack. So, somebody predicted by that, this will also follow
a curve and after some time it will actually saturates but, this still going straight and but, we
are predicting in another 5 or 10 years we will see a saturation that you cannot built more
capability for a processor because, of the limitations in the chip and materials.
But, if someone comes up with new materials, this is known as Moore’s law that every 2
years your processor capacity increases by 2 times that is known as the transistor density
within a particular size of the chip. There is only one exception for the S curve parameter .
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Let us see what are the implications of this so, you need to know the three scenarios of
product development: the environment when introducing a new technology, when the new
technology is rapidly involving and the technology popping out, popping out means saturated
out. These three stages you should be able to understand based on the scenarios you need to
take a decision or you need to plan accordingly. That is the basically the need for need in this
case of product development where we are trying to identify the technology to be used in the
product development and you should know what is the current level of technology available.
If you want to design an electrical power system or an electrical lighting system nobody will
go for camps and tourists centre there will be a booking for a LED technology only now a
days but, we need to know what is future of LED technology is it going to be there or is it
going to be replaced by some other technology to understand that you need to know what is
stage with the technology is.
Now, a simple approach to ensure that the product development team understands these
issues be go for a technical questioning and developing mission statement. The technical
questioning will try to answer these questions: what is the current technology, what is the
technology going to change etcetera, etcetera., so we will see how we can change the
technical questioning to develop a mission statement for a new product .
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What is the mission statement, these are basically to get these things done. Basically we want
to focus our design efforts, we want to have clear goals, the goals to be defined and we need
to have the business case analysis, what is the deal of task etc., Can these things be done
having a mission statement, and this mission statement comes from the technical question.
So, first we will look at how we can do the technical questioning and then how we can
convert the answers of these technical questions to a mission statement. When you do the lab
experiments, I used to ask you some questions basically, some of them are part of technical
questioning why he is doing something, what is the problem of the product, why he is not
able to do something. These are some basically part of technical questioning and we are
giving you some questions but those are the only questions you can ask. You can ask any
kind of questions and then try to find answers that will form your mission statements .
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We will see what questions are to begin with, we will look at the technical questioning. It
helps to gather additional information, the current understanding of the development needs
the question by asking the following questions and answering them not once but, continuing
through the life cycle of the design process, that is if you want to develop a product you need
to keep asking questions and try to find answers those questions and then you will have only
clear idea is it a good effort to go forward with the product development.
Assume that you are going to develop a new product, what product you would like to do and
develop any suggestions. It’s one we have discussed in previous class assuming that you want
to design a cycle which is one which you commonly use. What will be the first question you
ask? The first question you want to ask is, are there some problems in the existing cycle?
That is why you want to design a new cycle otherwise you do not need to decide.
The first question you should ask is, what is the problem really about? What is the problem
that you are having with the current product or what is the problem you are facing without
having a product? There is no product that might also be a problem. In the case of bicycle
design, how do you answer this question? What is the problem really about, the cycle chain
comes out, no back supports, and you will be exposed to sun and rain, you have to put some
effort, there are so many problems in the bicycle.
These are the things which you should write: you are not going to solve all the problems but,
see what the real problems of using a bicycle are. You will see that there are 1, 2, 3, and 4
many problems with the existing bicycle. That becomes a reason for you to start a new
design, you know that there are some problems with the cycle.
So, I want to redesign. Fair enough because, you know there is a problem you do not know
about the commercial issues, technological issues and all but, you know there are issues that
is why you want to buy if you are not able to answer this question that means you do not
know why we are going to design it.
The first question you should ask whenever you want to design something is there is a
problem, what is the real problem if there is a problem, the first question you should answer.
Then, the second one is, okay, what kind of expectations are there or designs are involved in
the designing the products. So, many people will have many expectations so, what is your
expectation or what the expectations you have understood to have are. For example, you are
saying that the cycle is difficult because you are exposed to the sun and rain.
Are you expecting this to be a car? Are you planning to have a car instead of a cycle? No,
that is not the expectation, the expectation is that you should protect this person from sun and
rain keeping it still as a cycle, you are not going to make it as a four wheeler, or you are not
planning to make it as a fully electric or whatever the implicit expectations that is basically
driven as an implicit expectations it cannot make it as a completely new product by to solve
all these problems then it becomes a completely different product not a cycle.
It should remain as a bicycle, it should remain as a one which is driven by the passenger but,
can you provide the additional features, that is basically the implicit expectation or desires.
Then, are the customers' functional requirements and constraints truly appropriate? This
basically, comes from the first question.
You answered this many questions here but then you should try to answer whether are these
needs really good, can they be really achieved, or what are the constraints that may come up
in this developing these product that is basically the customer needs, of course you do not
have too many customers’ needs at present you have very few but, are the appropriate are you
looking at, ok that somebody is telling it should protecting me from sun and rain is not it
good need or bad need, is it constraint in the development or not.
These are the things which you should answer in this question. The next one is more
important is there any avenue for creative design and development in this case, what are the
areas where you can be very creative and come up with the solution, is there an avenue to
make it a very innovative development exercise and what are the areas which are open for
creativity sight. So, for example in the cycle you are saying the chain coming out is a
Probably you can come up with the innovative design of transmission where either the chain
is not there or the chain slip can be prevented, there is an area for you to be creative in
designing the product. Like any other areas for example, there is no back support in bicycles.
Is there a way I can come up with the innovative design to support the passenger or back
support for the rider. That is the avenue for creative design and innovative problem solving
and if there are none, that means may not be a good product development exercise there is
nothing much you can do with the product.
Next one is, what avenues are limited or not open for creative design that is some implicit
expectations are there. You cannot really change that one so, if you say that the cycle
somebody has to pedal or it has to be made electrically. So, sometimes you can say no I am
not interested in an electric bicycle. I am interested only in a manual one, so the avenue for
converting to electric is not open.
That is limited you are not going for an electric one, we are going for a manual one. These
are the avenues which are limited which you cannot have a creative design and then, what
characteristics, properties must the product have. So, every product when you try to develop
you should have some expectations like it should be lightweight, it should be low cost, it
should be very efficient.
These are things which are characteristics which the product should have then only it will be
successful otherwise you would not be able to succeed in designing the product. This must
have and what the product should not have some characteristics that again depending on the
products, some products will be having some specific things which you should not have,
some products should have some characteristics. We need to answer this question what
properties the product should have and should not have.
What aspects of the design task can be quantified now? Can you make some consecutive
assessment of some of the characteristics for example, what should be the speed that the cycle
should be driven at the maximum speed, oh, it could have the maximum speed of 15
kilometre per hour and the weight of the cycle should not be more than the 20 kg and the
maximum weight of the person who will be riding cannot more than 80 kg or expected to be
around 80 kg.
These are the things which you can qualitatively specify. What are the design tasks that can
be qualified at the stage? A very preliminary estimate you will be doing this again and again,
I see you progress with that design but, these are the things which should answer. The next
one is do any bias exist with the chosen task statements or terminologies? This may be
slightly difficult for it to understand.
Because, whenever I try to define something I will be biased towards something and hardly
have something in mind. So, I am telling all this based on this bias. So, I will either say that
basically I am a Mechanical Engineer. So, my designs will be more mechanical oriented, so I
am not interested in electronics, somebody who is electrical or electronics based will be
always looking for something as an electronics solution.
Is there any such bias exiting in the chosen task or if it is that I want this to be only in this
particular way I do not want this in a different way so, that is known as any bias exists in the
design of the product and the last one what are the technological and technical conflicts
inherent in the design task. What is a technological conflict? How do you define a conflict?
What do you mean by conflict?
Conflict is the same thing to oppose you want everything with the high feature in the mobile
phones but cost is less, you want your display very big but you want your phone to be very
small easy to carry so, this are technological conflicts somebody will say that my display very
big and my keypad should be very big so that I can easily type but then they say ok my total
size of the phone should be this much.
It is a technological conflict where you cannot have both satisfied so, can you identified some
technological conflicts like that for example, you want to have the life of cycle 10 years and
then you say that the cost of cycle should be or the component should be less but, if you want
to make the life more you need to used better material, good quality material and cost will
grow up so, these things is known as technological conflicts in the design of the products.
Is there any technology where such technical and technological conflicts are inherent in the
design task? That is the next question? If you can answer all these questions or much more
than this; these are the questions for the design team to think critically and we state the design
stack in a more precise way for the project of the subject under the current situation.
And the tangible research should be clear of statements. Mission statements that are you try
to answer these kind of questions not necessarily only this ten you can have many more
questions based on the type of product and try to answer all these questions and then see can
you convert all these answers into the proper consolidated statement which we call as the
mission statement .
That is the purpose here, we will be developing a mission statement based on the technical
questioning. I will take an example and then tell you how to do this but, first see how to
develop a mission statement then we will take an example and see how to develop a mission
statement for a new product.
These are the things the mission statement will be something like this so, you have a product
that is like product X, what is the product description and how do you describe the product?
What is it doing? What is the purpose of the product? This is known as a product description.
We describe the products new transport vehicle manually driven cycle for short range
community, that is the statement that you can have for cycle similarly, you can write
something the product and then what are the key business goals you have, you want to make
some money, you want to serve a particular community, or a particular group of customers
and how much time it will aspect to take place these are basically known as the humanitarian
And then what is your primary market who will be the primary customer for your product is
it going to be the college going students or is it going to be the people who are going for job
to the nearby areas or who are going to be primary customer for your products and then, is
there a secondary market, secondary market is that in addition to this you can get some other
people also buying your products, this is known as the secondary market.
Who are the secondary market in this case, secondary markets expected secondary markets.
Then what are the assumptions in development for the product? These are basically coming
from the technical questioning you will be having many thing coming out clear as a basic
assumption about the product and then you have the Stakeholders who are the important
people who will be involved in the whole process of design and development, sales and
purchase everyone is the stakeholder anybody who has got something to do with the product
will become a stakeholder.
Who are the stakeholders in your case? Customer sets and then avenues for creativity and
what are the things which you can modify in the product creative or innovative design
coming from the technical questioning and the scope limitations. What are the limitations
which we cannot change and some of the things which are implicit and which cannot be
changed? These are basically coming under the scope limitations.
Once you write down all these things in a proper way that becomes the mission statement for
developing the new products and this is the first thing we need to have if we are going to
develop a new product or a modifying a product or redesigning a