Product Development and Commercialization: A Handbook for Sustainable Entrepreneurs

Product Development and Commercialization: A Handbook for Sustainable Entrepreneurs is part of the Sustainable Entrepreneur’s Library of Resources for Product Development and Commercialization.  The Handbook begins with a survey of the various determinants of product innovation, including external factors and elements of the specific organizational context, and describes the traditional product development process, including the role of each functional group in the development and launch of new products; identification and selection of new product opportunities; creation and evaluation of new product concepts; technical and marketing aspects of the actual development of new products; strategies and procedures for launching new products; and modifications or updates to existing products. The  Handbook also surveys variations on strategies and processes relating to new product development in different environmental and institutional contexts, particularly developing countries.  With respect to the external environment for new product development the Handbook discusses research on how various factors that are part of any company’s external environment influence innovation including technology, demand, regulatory and legal constraints, patents and other intellectual property rights, suppliers, market conditions, the industry in which the company is operating and societal culture.  Similarly, the influence of organizational context is discussed with a specific emphasis on acquisition of inputs and resources for new product development, organizational strategy, organizational structure and internal group processes, leadership, organizational politics, organizational knowledge management and design technologies.  Coverage of product development also includes various strategic and organizational issues that commonly arise in connection with  product development activities, including the formation and management of product development teams; creation and implementation of marketing plans; common problems in the product development process; product discontinuation; evaluation of the product development process; and conditions for successful product development.  In addition, the Handbook includes guides on various issues and challenges relating to new product development in global markets, lean product and customer development and sustainable product development.

After covering product development, the Handbook describes the typical activities companies engaged in with respect to research and development (“R&D”) and also discusses strategic planning for R&D, planning for internal research projects and management of outsourcing arrangements.  The Handbook continues with a discussion of purchasing activities and includes an overview of the typical activities in the purchasing area, including the role of the purchasing manager and the relationship of the purchasing function to new product development.  The Handbook also covers strategic planning for purchasing, management and organizational issues in the purchasing area, the order and fulfillment process and supply chain management.  The next guide in the Handbook covers the typical activities in the manufacturing area and includes discussions of strategic planning for manufacturing, management and organizational issues in the manufacturing area and negotiation and documentation of outsourcing arrangements.

The Handbook continues with the transition from generating ideas for new products and building those products to commercialization by focusing on sales and distribution activities, including the steps that companies need to take to create and develop sales channels for the company’s products in selected target markets (e.g., direct sales, telemarketing, sales agents, distributors etc.).  Specific topics include strategic planning for sales and distribution activities, organization and management of the sales function, sales compensation plans, negotiation of direct sales contracts, establishment and management of alliances with outside sales agent and distributors and customer service and support.  Also covered are marketing and public relations activities, an area that is concerned with supporting the efforts of the sales group to promote the company’s products to prospective customers, collecting and analyzing information regarding the requirements of customers and their perceptions of the company and its products, identifying ways in which the company and its products can deliver value to customers and managing the planned communications by the company to each of its stakeholders.  Specific topics include legal and regulatory considerations related to marketing and advertising activities, strategic planning for marketing, organizing and managing the marketing function, developing a product marketing plan and selecting and managing a public relations firm.  Finally, the Handbook concludes with a description of the special steps that should be taken to effective market and sale products and publicize the company generally in the online environment.

The Handbook includes the following tabs:

Determinants of Product Innovation

Traditional Product Development Process

Product Development for Global Markets

Lean Product and Customer Development

Sustainable Product Development

Research and Development



Introduction to Sales and Distribution Activities

Organization and Management of the Sales Function

Sales and Distribution Arrangements and Contracts

Customer Service and Support


Online Marketing and Sales Activities

Download the entire Handbook here.