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Talking New Product Development with Paul Hodges
Posted on March 17th, 2017 by Christina Valimaki in New Materials & Applications
Paul Hodges has been working in the chemical industry for over 30 years, and he has seen plenty of shifts during that time. In his current role as chairman of International eChem, he strategizes with businesses to help them navigate today’s volatile global markets.
In this interview, Hodges talks about how the markets have been affected over the years by changing demographics, and in particular how the Baby Boomers’ move into retirement has resulted in reduced general consumer demand. Companies now must think more strategically about what kinds of products and services are really needed – and, in many cases, these needs will center around basics, like food and clean water. In the era of climate change and environmental degradation, sustainable products will be of particular value.
Hodges provides some intriguing industry-specific examples of how new product development may be changing. For instance, he discusses how many people today are less inclined to take on the expense of a car and are therefore utilizing car-sharing services like Zipcar, where special cards are used to activate the vehicle. The chemical industry, he suggests, may find that they have an important role in providing the electronics and polymers that go into making those cards.
One thing he makes clear is that it is hard to know what the future brings. Products that are making a company plenty of money today may see interest fade in the near future. That is why businesses must be thinking of their five- and 10-year plans, and also showing willingness to take a little risk. How might they take a familiar technology into a new market, or, perhaps, work on developing a new technology for a market that they already know well?
Read the complete interview to find out what Paul Hodges has to say about pursuing commercially-successful new product development in these changing times.
All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.
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