Most people and companies know that taking a new product from concept to market is a huge endeavor. One of the more common things we hear from those working with Enventys Partners on a new product is that they aren’t quite sure where to begin.
Fortunately for our clients, as a full-service product development company, we’re able to work with companies in whatever stage of product development they’re currently in, walking them through the entire product development lifecycle. Most companies come to us with a basic sketch or prototype, which means they’re in the first stage of product development: research.
Where to Begin When Creating a New Product
You shouldn’t bring a product to market based on a feeling or a hunch. It is important to understand what customers are looking for and how to differentiate yourself from your competitors. When clients come to us with an idea for a new product, our industrial designers usually begin with research. We will start with the product category review by exploring the current industry and competitive products, as well as identify emerging trends within the category. This information will give us a snapshot of the current breadth of the market and highlight potential gaps/opportunities to fill. We will also isolate trends that might be leveraged during the creation of the product. These insights will help us make more informed decisions as we begin to determine how best to position a new product concept.
Concurrently, our engineers often purchase and mechanically benchmark competing products to gain a better feel for the way they are manufactured, the way they work and the technology behind them. The time to complete this process varies depending on how complicated the product is and the size of the market it is intended for; it can be as short as a week or two, or can it be much longer.
Our engineers and model makers will start by building concept models as they start to finalize the 3D CAD assembly of the concept. These proof-of-concept models/rough prototypes will enable our engineering team and designers to evaluate critical features, dimensions, and geometries. Concept models are often too heavy, too big and too ugly, but they work. While they may not look like a store-ready product, they enable us to gauge the effectiveness of your design and help us identify aspects that need to be improved or changed. Building off of what the industrial design team has come up with, and armed with new knowledge from the concept models, the engineers will update the 3D CAD model, make an alpha prototype, test some more, tweak the 3D model, make a beta prototype and so forth. Iteration is key to perfecting the product, and how long this process takes is directly proportional to how complex the product is.
Once we have a prototype our team and our client feels comfortable with, we’ll make any final tweaks and create a file package to send to the factory.
Note that this is often a good opportunity for product validation. The goal of market validation is to ensure that it makes sense to invest additional money in your product through the use of crowdfunding, pre-sales, focus groups and more.
What to Expect When Creating a New Product
As you’re getting started creating a new product with our product development team, make sure you have realistic expectations – know that the process is going to take a long time and may be expensive. We encourage our clients to be involved throughout the entire process, and the more you can tell us about your vision for your product, the better the final product will be.
Furthermore, make sure you have a good business plan to reinforce your new product. Having a great product isn’t going to do it all, especially for smaller companies. You need to believe in your product so that you’re motivated to put in the effort it will take to make it a success. If this seems overwhelming, not to worry – as a full-service product development agency, we can do much more than just create a new product, we can help bring it to market through branding, crowdfunding and digital marketing as well.