Successful product development is what made companies like Google and Apple the new royalty of a whole industry. Needless to say, starting a new product development project is not for the faint of heart.
After all, its success can bring a whole new host of profits, and its failure can tank the whole business. This brings us to some of the most critical stages in the process of new product development. Enter prototyping from stage left.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with prototyping and creating a proof-of-concept (POC), no worries. You’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading to learn all about how to start new product development, as well as how a prototype and POC comes in to tie the whole thing together.
New Product Development 101: What’s Your New Product Idea?
The very first step in starting a new product development project is nailing down your primary idea of the product itself.
Without having the original (and hopefully, exciting) idea on hand, then you have no product at all. New product development comes in to transform your hypothetical product into a successful physical product that you can put on the market.
This can only be the result of a well-tailored new product development plan. But, you don’t want to start the process before actually doing your homework when it comes to picking the right product idea. So, here’s how you can do so.
Start With What You’re Good At
Make sure that your start line is marked in your favor, where you can start with what you already know. After operating in your industry for a few years, you’re already familiar with your own market and customers.
You’ll want to take advantage of your knowledge when it comes to understanding pain points, the competitive landscape, and even the barriers to purchase.
Consolidate your existing product portfolio against those research points, and explore whether you can tweak or change up your range of offerings to better meet your customers’ needs.
Perform in-Depth Market Research
Once you have a concrete idea on hand, you’ll want to start your market research in earnest.
You can integrate user interviews, focus groups, surveys, and workshops on your mission to gather primary research data points. If the product is going to be costly to make, then you’ll want to invest in hiring a market research company to support your research efforts.
At this point, you should have a concise description of your new product that includes its features, benefits, and a random person on the street can understand what the product is all about by simply reading your description.
The Difference Between Prototyping and Proof-of-Concept
Before we take a deep dive into the intricacies of prototyping, let’s clear up the differences between prototyping and doing a proof-of-concept (POC).
Basically, a POC is a small exercise that you can do to test your design ideas and assumptions. This is the test you do to showcase whether the product would actually be functional and whether your design theories can be replicated in real life, thus possibly achieved during development.
On the other hand, prototyping is all about helping the creator visualize how the product will look and function. It’s an interactive model that merges the ideas of designs, layout, and navigation. The POC will prove that the product can be developed, and the prototype shows how it will be developed.
The Importance of Prototyping
This is where things start getting more serious, and more fun at the same time.
Other than the obvious benefits of creating a prototype, like getting to feel, touch, and try out the new product in real life. The key benefit to having a prototype for most businesses is actually locking down new investors, as well as getting management approvals so your project can start gaining traction.
Besides, successful prototyping can help you pin down whether your idea is actually going to work, and whether the design is going to pass the stringent requirements placed by government entities. Besides, you’ll want to have a prototype on hand so you can conduct a thorough evaluation and see if you can tweak things and improve the design.
And, if your curious about the market’s response to your product, you can always test it out and analyze the market’s feedback. You can always use Voltera to nail down your prototype.
The Main Types of Prototypes
There are two categories of prototypes, and those are a function prototype and a form prototype. The form prototype will be made just to see what the product will look like, its feel, but it wouldn’t actually be functional.
The other type of prototyping is the one that deals with functionality. A function prototype will be made to work properly so you can test out the product’s functionality, even if it looks like a mishmash of wires and plastic.
Afterward, you’ll want to make a final prototype, which has both the right look and functionality.
Rapid Prototyping in Product Development
When it comes to the process of product development, you’ll want to get a good look at what rapid prototyping has to offer.
It’s a step that can be added to the design process, by creating a full-scale model that can highlight any areas prime for changes or even reveal any flaws, so you can commence the large-scale production as soon as possible.
Unlike the old ways of prototyping using wood, clay, and other materials to build a mock-up, as well as fabrication using duct tapes and baling wires. With rapid prototyping, you can introduce some critical methods like 3D printing, SLS, SLA, CNC, and others.
Ready to See Your Product in Real Life?
Transforming your product idea into a real-life tangible product can be one of the most glorious moments of business success. However, this state can only be reached after conducting a well-oiled successful new product development plan.
We hope that our little guide on what the process entails, with a special focus on prototyping, POC, and rapid prototyping helped clear out the complex methodology.