Four Products: Predicting Diffusion (2008)

Case Solution

John T. Gourville
Harvard Business School ()

An updated case of Four Products. This 2008 version contains: cut peanut butter, folding bike tires, high-quality wooden puzzles, and artificial dirt for thoroughbred racetracks. These four products form the basis for evaluating the factors driving new product introductions. In particular, one of the crucial tasks in commercializing new innovations is predicting the demand and distribution rates for these products. And while you can speculate on the extent and speed of diffusion of a particular product, it is useful to compare and contrast the diffusion between products. That way, one can focus on the drivers or characteristics of the product that affect the diffusion of the product, making one product a star and another a dog. In particular, looking beyond products allows you to spot things that are missing when talking about a single product. Note that this case is often used with HBS Note # 505075, “Note on Diffusion of Innovation: Rogers’ Five Factors”, which can be distributed with the case or after it has been taught the case.

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