I have summarized the main points in a handy Checklist that you can download at the end of this article.
I recall a few years ago when I was moving to China after joining a european startup with operations in China. I didn’t expect at the time that I will end up living there for 5 years.
China was the place to be to manufacture your products or if you wanted to get affordable products that you could sell online. …
You’ve probably heard of Samsung’s new foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold. It’s an innovative new smartphone from Samsung, which has been the first company to release a smartphone with a foldable display.
However, the worst thing happened with the first review units days before its launch date.
“It was embarrassing. I pushed it through before it was ready.” “I do admit I missed something on the foldable phone, but we are in the process of recovery,”
- DJ Koh (Samsung’s CEO)
Samsung sent a few Galaxy Fold units to several media for reviews and PR purposes. …
Building a physical prototype is an investment, so as with any investment, you want to get the most out of it.
If you are buying a stock, you wouldn’t buy it, have a quick look for a couple of days to see how it is doing then forget about it. Unfortunately, with prototypes that’s what usually happens.
The best way to get the most return from a prototype starts by preparing your strategy.
Choose the right goal
Decide what goal you want to achieve with the prototype, what do you want to validate with it. …
All too often innovators start building their solution without first ensuring they have the right information and a clear direction to follow.
That usually leads to a long and uncertain process of designing and building a product that shows a clear disconnect from what users need, packed with tons of features, many irrelevant or with little value to the majority of the users.
My clients often come to me with a product idea they want to develop. Some have a more clear view of what they want, others have a rough concept in their mind.
We begin working together to interpret their thoughts and organize the information they have. The first thing is to understand the purpose behind their idea. …
It’s a fairly long way to go from an idea to a real working product with a market fit and paying customers.
Investors won’t buy into your idea alone.
With so many ideas and startups creating new and innovative products, investors need to be able to visualize your idea first in order to get convinced that it has potential.
A physical prototype is the best way to get the idea into a real and tangible version that shows how it works and how it will deliver value to users and to the business.
Use your own means and resources to build a physical prototype. Most investors will ask you how much of your own money you’ve put into your product. …
The development of physical products is a long process and it requires a lot of commitment to make it all the way through.
That is the reason why developing consumer products has been almost exclusive to companies with big budgets or investment, or to a few brave inventors that persisted with their idea.
Unfortunately, most people with ideas get overwhelmed by the process and some even have to give up before they start.
The good news is that in recent years a few emerging technologies and platforms are offering tools and services that make the development of products more accessible to all sorts of innovators. …
Often there is a misconception of what a physical prototype really is, and what are its limitations compared to a final product.
Some may assume is just an earlier version of the final product but with the same level of quality. Others might see it as a duct tape mock-up of an idea. Although at times it can be more like the latter, in general, it’s something in between.
It is important to understand what you can and can’t do with a prototype or at least have an understanding of some of the limitations so you know what to expect and you don’t get ugly surprises. …
Ideas are abstract and hard to visualize by others. What you have in your mind might not be easy to translate into words or it might not make sense to other people.
That’s why we use prototypes of all sorts to try to show our ideas to others so they can visualize it and even try it.
However, we tend to go directly to our solution and start creating a prototype or sample with all of the functionalities that we have imagined. We want the most realistic representation of our product idea.
This leads inventors and entrepreneurs to dedicate endless hours and to spend significant amounts of money building a product that might not be interesting to users. …
There are many things to consider when developing a physical product but most of the development activities rely on skilled professionals.
Choosing the right professionals and skills is one of the most important tasks to focus on at the beginning since you will be collaborating together for a fair amount of time during the development.
Probably, the most common concern that I heard from people looking for someone to help with their product development is the lack of trust.
Trust is essential when working with other humans.
Not only you are giving away sensitive information about your idea, and going to spend a fair amount of time collaborating together, but you are also going to invest a decent amount of money in those services. …
I am optimistic about technology, someday, giving us the power to imagine things and directly build an exact physical replica of what we have in our minds.
Unfortunately, we are not quite there yet, and to go from idea to a physical product we need to first “translate” what we have in our mind into a format that other humans and machines can interpret and use to build a product.
For most creative processes, machines still need humans to instruct them what to do.
This is what designers and engineers do, they evaluate your idea and your requirements and produce the formats that will allow anyone to visualize the idea and then help machines build the final product. …