Have you ever felt like you’ve exhausted every thought experiment possible into your idea? No matter how much more time you spend thinking about your product, you’re just going in circles?
You need to find a starting point and stop wasting time. You need to bring your product to life.
A prototype is just that. It’s the exciting moment when you can hold your concept in your hands and finally see it in real life. Prototypes are the backbone of successful product development. Without this prototype, how do you inform your design? What reference do you provide to justify doing something a certain way? Every iteration beyond this starting point will be built off the back of previous failed versions, so that when you reach your final design, everything that could have gone wrong, already has.
"I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure." ~ James Dyson
Our brains don’t think in 2D, so don’t force them to. Oftentimes, a design can look great on paper and in theory, but is full of glaring omissions only noticeable through tangible assessment. Creating a testable prototype will allow you to sit down with an early form of your idea and nut out which features are worthwhile, and more importantly, which aspects need to be revised or removed. This evolutionary phase of your design process is crucial to safeguarding you against the inevitability of product development. Imagine ordering tens of thousands of units, only to find out they are void due preventable oversight.
The prototyping phase also gives us a frame of reference for the likely costs and procedures that will go into producing your final product. Perhaps some steps can be removed, combined, or outright changed. Just as prototyping will help you optimise the performance of your final design, it too can optimise your production processes, giving you a clear understanding not only of how the product works, but how it’s made. Manufacturing prototypes is like laying out the groundwork for how you will produce the final units. Having this practice run will ultimately streamline your production methods, saving you time and money.
Imagine someone was trying to sell you a new product, and all they had was some sketches. It’s much easier to convince potential customers or investors of your product’s worth if they have a prototype they can actually hold and engage with. Humans are tactile, we touch and feel. Translating your idea and vision into their mind is magnitudinally easier when the product is right in front of them. The concept instantly becomes reality and it becomes much easier to close a deal.
No matter how great designers think a prototype may be, ultimately it is the market that will determine the success of a product. Simply put, if the customer doesn’t like your product, they won’t buy it. Working prototypes are so crucial in the development phase to aggregate opinion and provide insight into any potential shortcomings of your idea previously unconsidered by the design team.
You should always have the possibility of patents in the back of your mind when considering your idea. If the concept is new or innovative enough, protecting it with a patent is essential to prevent another company from replicating your idea and stealing your goodwill and potentially your profits.
Patents work around key aspects of the design and by having a working prototype, it is much easier to consult with patent attorneys about how to protect your intellectual property. Conversely, the prototype may uncover any potential breaches of IP law with already established patents and help you change them before production and a messy infringement.
At B.Product, we offer specialised design development and prototyping services which have helped hundreds of our clients no matter how far along their design journey they are. Click here to learn more about how we can help you, or schedule a consultation here and take the next step towards commercial success.