The mining company Anglo American is constantly looking for better ways of meeting customer needs. One way in which it can do this is through the use of new technology development. Emerging technologies can benefit businesses and their customers in two ways – firstly through the development of new products and secondly through improved processes. As Anglo American works within the primary sector, developing new processes for effectively and efficiently exploring and extracting metals and minerals is particularly important. For example, new process and product development has allowed the firm to find hidden minerals by identifying pattern changes in the earth's surface rock and magnetic field. It has also meant that more sustainable development methods have been adopted.

Of course, new technologies are being developed in all sectors of industry, not just the primary sector. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has just made its first appearance in the UK at Farnborough International Air Show. Boeing has utilised a range of new technologies from 'complicated electrics to new materials'. The result is that passengers should be noticeably more comfortable on journeys because of larger windows, greater humidity and increased pressure and oxygen levels. This has been possible because the structure of the plane has been made from a strong carbon fibre composite material instead of aluminium. Boeing believe that as well as increased passenger comfort, new technologies will make the 787 Dreamliner the most fuel efficient jet liner in the world, emitting 20% less carbon dioxide than current planes of a similar size. The plane is due to be launched later this year after a series of daily flight tests have been completed. Although it may well be the most sophisticated passenger plane at its launch, Boeing's competitors have already started to catch up. Airbus is building some similar aircrafts and organisations in Russia and China are preparing to enter the market. (BBC 15th July 2010)


  1. List the different stages of product development.
  2. Explain the importance of research during product and process development.
  3. Other than technology, analyse the factors that will influence product development.


  1. List the different stages of product development. • Generate and screen ideas • Define and develop the concept • Testing • Develop marketing strategy • Product development • Test marketing • Full product launch • Manage the product lifecycle.
  2. Explain the importance of new product and process development to organisations. • To take advantage of new technology • To increase market share • To obtain or maintain a competitive advantage • To fill a gap in the market • To attract new customers.
  3. Analyse the factors that will influence new technology development. • The actions of competitors • The risks involved • The skills of workers and managers • The costs compared to potential rewards.