The following is an extract from the monthly Barometer press release to be issued by the University on Tuesday 1st August 2005.

Trying something new - your views on new product development.

On it's website, the DTI points up a challenge for companies, namely....

'to bring to the market a stream of new and improved, added-value, products and services that enable the business to achieve higher margins and thus profits to re-invest in the business.'

New Product Development was the theme of the June surveys on the Barometer project and your response brought with it some very interesting as well as some predictable results.

We had touched upon the subject in the April edition of the UKBB and, whilst the focus then was on whether respondents actively seek opportunities to develop new products and services, and what the main motive was for doing so, the June surveys looked at factors surrounding their introduction.

Over 80% of respondents had introduced new or improved products, processes or services over the last two years with 17% having developed something completely new. One factor examined in June was the time allocated to the design element of associated activities and over a quarter of businesses declared that they had spent a significant amount of time on design related changes (for 13% of respondents, over 50% of their changes have been purely design related with 14% saying that between one quarter and a half of their changes had been so).

What of external experts? Who did you consult?

When it comes to consultation of external experts on the matter of design, this is not prevalent among UKBB respondents. 39% of you either found this question 'not applicable' or responded with 'none'. The remainder, those who have used experts, had consulted between one and two types on average and, of the eleven options offered in the question, Marketing experts, Graphic designers and Software designers were chief amongst those chosen.

The same three options were selected by the UKBAB panel, who, when asked about the types of expert they recommended, showed Graphic designers at 15%, Marketing experts 16% and software designers 8.5%. University experts and Branding consultants were also highlighted, receiving 10% and 9% respectively.

The surveys also reported on inhibiting factors preventing the introduction of new products, services and processes and found that lack of time polled the highest response from businesses, claiming 21%. Advisers reflected a broader view quoting lack of time and risks involved, both of which had 12% of the responses, too high development costs with 13% and access to external finance and lack of new creative ideas each with 10%.

One respondent offered his observations based on general client comments from his client base. ' Innovative products, unlike many other business needs, require funding for development, prototyping, manufacturing etc. Specific innovation 'hard cash' grants for SME's, it appears, are experiencing very low availability in the UK at the moment.'

Full versions of press releases can be found on the 'Presspack' pages of the project's websites, as can 'Survey Presspacks', which include further analysis and panellists' comments. To access them, please use the links below.

For the UKBB click here.

To reach the UKBAB 'Presspack' page, click here.

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