Most Important Key Steps of Product Development
The identification of the “key steps” of innovative product development have been written “ad naseum” by academics in academic speak. While all true and in excruciating detail the direction and “real world” information offered by these explanations offers little solace to the “man on the street” whom endeavors to become an entrepreneur with their innovative thought about a new product.
At Envision Product Development Group we meet with entrepreneurs seemingly daily to “vet” their ideas, concepts, and in some cases actual prototypes. It is our belief we have a “hands on” feel for the most important steps of product development:
It all starts with an idea. We often say, “the idea is the easy part” because of all the back end work that needs to be accomplished after the initial conception but the reality is that it all starts with that flash of insight. The “idea” then needs to be researched in to its marketplace. After all there is no sense proceeding if the idea has already been implemented, or it cannot be accomplished profitably or efficiently in its “space”. Competitive product needs to be reviewed both in the context of “features and benefits” and against price/value. The business potential of the idea/product needs to be evaluated nearly immediately in the process so as to reduce wasted time spent in a direction that the marketplace will not support. A key step in product development is the component in the evaluation of how big the actual market is. It makes little economic sense to birth a product that has such a limited or small market that even if you would obtain a 50% share of the entire market universe you may not have enough gross dollars to actual achieve, let alone maintain a thriving financial entity. Nearly simultaneously to it the investigation and ultimate pursuit of intellectual property needs to be taking place. The investigation is to protect from infringement, and the obtaining of “IP” is for protection and added corporate value – these are key steps in product development. Infringing on intellectual property, or spending money on a product with too small of a market, are both huge barriers that in most cases can’t be overcome.
Next…. design and have built an “alpha” (first) prototype to prove the concept. This prototype may in no way represent your future finished product in template but it does provide a “proof of concept” and the actuation that the theory of the idea will work. Testing is done with the “alpha” before moving to refinement and enhancement with subsequent “beta” prototype units moving closer and closer to the “look” and actual product itself. All design needs to be accomplished with planned strategy around the ease and lower cost expense in mass manufacturing. It makes no sense to create a design that either cannot be manufactured efficiently or is costly to do so. Make sure your “manufacturing documentation package” is in an easy to understand electronic format so that it can be sent effortlessly any where on the planet for quotation and costing. The advent of the internet has increased speed around the world and quickened the process of product development.