The development of new products in the personal financial services sector
The development of new products in the personal finacial services (PFS) sector is an area that is being increasingly relied upon by organisations to provide competitive differentiation in the highly competitive environment that they now operate within. Despite this reliance, relatively little is known about how new product development (NPD) activity is undertaken within the PFS sector. The literature in this area is inundated with different models and techniques to aid development programmes, but how closely they are followed and implemented in the reality facing personal financial service companies is questionable. The first stage of the research therefore examines the implementation of planned new product development in the sector, in order to highlight the gap between theory and practice, and provide for a more contingent approach to development activities. The second and third stages of this study are concerned with providing a detailed investigation of the development, launch and distribution of a particular new PFS product. Specific attention is paid to the organisational and behavioural factors that influenced its development and eventual market outcome. Such factors are given very little consideration in the existing literature supporting NPD activity, yet it is shown that the consequences that they can have for the success of new PFS products in the marketplace can be critical. The overall value of the research is found in its questioning of the universal nature of the existing provision of theoretical approaches to, and support techniques for NPD, in addition to determining the need for companies, both within and outside of the PFS sector, to take into account highlighted behavioural and organisational factors when involved in development programmes.