Congratulations! You prototyped an idea and have proven that it has a bright future as a real-life, functional product. Now what?
Prototyping is often the phase that precedes patenting and the investigation of manufacturing, licensing, and retailing options. But as your business development plans continue, it’s important to make sure your product development progress does not stall. You have work to do to transform your early prototype into the polished, perfect product that will eventually hit shelves.
The original prototype you create—whether a 3-D model for a more basic physical product or a detailed virtual animation for a large-scale process-based invention—is made for the sole purpose of proving your idea works. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to work.
But after you’ve established viability, you can start refining your prototype to improve functionality and correct flaws. You may end up making two or three more prototypes, each better than the last. And trust us: if the process makes you feel like you’re a prototype design lab, you’re on the right track.
Test It Out
Once you’ve refined your prototype, it’s time to solicit feedback from other people, preferably those in your target market. This is often called beta testing and can be done via focus group or among early, trusted Facebook supporters.
Putting your product into the hands of real potential customers is invaluable for identifying flaws or helpful improvements. Positive feedback and documented market interest are also powerful assets when it’s time to negotiate with potential licensing or retail partners down the road. This is a vitally important step to take your product idea to product.
Fine-Tune the Details
After you have tested your initial prototypes and worked out any kinks in the design, it’s time to get down to details. Start experimenting with different materials and production methods to identify the most cost-effective way to produce your product in large quantities.
If you plan to produce and sell your product yourself, you can work through this stage with your manufacturing partner, who will review with you in detail every last nut and bolt that come together to make your product. From this process, you will determine the final materials your product will be made of and how much each individual piece costs.
A fully working prototype is always a welcome tool for an inventor pursuing licensing or distribution agreements. Give Idea Design Studio a call to talk about creating an impressive prototype and to explore 3-D animation, a cost-effective way to speed up the prototyping of an idea.