The Path to Innovation for Traditional Media: Iterative Product Development

By: Joe Bilman, C.D.O, Harland Clarke Holdings
Published Tuesday, Aug 16, 2016

The Path to Innovation for Traditional Media: Iterative Product Development

Gone are the days when a new product would be thought up on a whim in a boardroom and launched two years later without any insight. The old way of research, design, build, launch and forget is over.

Nowadays, with data informing all decisions, new product development has evolved into a continuous process that allows for quick adaption based on nonstop learnings called iterative product development.

This process challenges teams to identify multiple ideas for exploration then employ rapid prototyping and refinement to test those ideas.  By developing multiple concepts, gathering feedback from internal and external sources, and refining a concept over and over, a company can easily pivot based on user needs/testing and industry trends. These steps ultimately enable the release of a cutting-edge product to the public. 

Whether applying the iterative product development process to launch a new product or to improve existing products, it’s important to have open communication and be ready to learn and adapt at any point in the cycle below:


Research and Ideate

  • Meet with key stakeholders to determine what’s working and what’s not and to clearly define what problems need solving
  • Meet with secondary stakeholders to vet opportunities that may exist (from manufacturing, production, purchasing, efficiencies, waste and more)

Design and Define

  • Once a core list of problems and opportunities is identified, it’s time to brainstorm the product requirements


  • Thoroughly explore multiple ways to solve problems and generate a variety of prototypes to get a sense of the feel of the product

Internal Review

  • Gather as much feedback as possible from stakeholders and non-stakeholders alike, and apply those learnings

Test and Measure

User Testing

  • Set up external testing and focus groups
  • Obtain client Feedback (approach trusted clients for their honest feedback and be prepared for criticism)


Analyze and Apply

  • Apply learnings, adapt the product and repeat the process

Throughout the cycle, remember that you need to adapt to the mindset that you are constantly tweaking and improving a potential product instead of just launching a product and waiting for it to succeed or fail.

Don’t be afraid of critical feedback or of having to repeat a cycle. Depending upon response throughout the process you can work through different cycles multiple times until everyone agrees that you have a solid product to launch.

By working together, putting ideas through a testing loop, and constantly refining, you are well on your way to producing a product and launching it with confidence.