For individual entrepreneurs and companies alike, a frequent question is:Once the seed of a new product idea has taken root, utilising the unique skills of an experienced Product Designer is by far the best route to a successful end result.That fortune favours the brave, has never been truer. Yet working with a Product Design Company reduces the risk, save time and money as well as increasing the chances of success. A new product that could change people’s lives in a small way could change yours in a very big way.
Fortunately, great product ideas are not the exclusive domain of multinational giants with formidable technical innovation, huge R+D budgets and slick branding. Humans have been finding solutions to everyday problems by thinking of and creating new product ideas for millennia and well before the likes of Apple or Tesla.
And they still are. It’s our firm belief that all individuals, entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes have the potential to imagine new product ideas that can change lives.
Small problems - big ideas
Pablo Picasso was quoted to have said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
”Here’s our take on that quote for product design ideas:“
Everyone has frustrations. The problem is how to see them and find the solutions to make life better.”
It’s pretty normal for people to go about their everyday lives without noticing, or at least giving much attention, to everyday problems and daily frustrations. Occasionally by chance, but more frequently through purposeful thinking and by asking “how can this be better”, ideas lead to new products that can lessen or eliminate a problem altogether.
Whether it’s a flash of inspiration or after thousands of hours of grinding away with hundreds of modifications and rethinks, one thing is for sure:
There are no new products without ideas. And at some point, every successful product has required decisions to be taken with a “let’s make it happen” moment.
So what’s the best way to get your product idea moving?
Here’s our 5-step guide on transforming your idea to ideal new product:
1. Reach out
Having an in-depth passion or specific knowledge in a niche sector is a great advantage. Yet being very close to a project can stop you from seeing the bigger picture and taking the right decisions at the right time.
Once an initial idea has generated interest and backing, it is important to invest resources in the right way. In the past, we have been contacted by companies that have already spent time and money on an idea only to reach a dead end. Getting projects back on track and to a great conclusion is gratifying for us, it would have saved time and money if contact had been made earlier in the project timeline.
But what about protecting your idea? Often we’re asked the question:
Should I protect my product with a patent before talking to designers?
Protecting ideas through patenting can be a time consuming and costly exercise. Patenting is a vital process, but what is often missed is selecting the right time to Patent. Often it is a better question to ask, When is the right time to Patent or Protect my idea? Our experience has shown that successful design projects can evolve quite significantly between first contact and final product, often outdating and nullifying original patents. Placing your trust in a reputable and longstanding design consultancy like Flynn Product Design is the assurance of complete confidentiality whilst potentially saving time and financial resources. In short, you are fully protected by our NDA in speaking with us first, we would quickly add additional intellectual property to your portfolio which should also be protected at the right time.
2. Think big about new product ideas
There’s a reason that mega-companies spend megabucks on focus groups, extensive market testing and consumer studies. They are trying to ensure they don’t make something that no one actually wants.
In the same way, successful entrepreneurs recognise that a good idea is a good starting point rather than a finality. Getting a true lie of the land is essential to push design boundaries. By digging deeper, looking at issues from different perspectives and challenging preconceptions and assumptions through design thinking, Product Designers establish if ideas stand up to scrutiny.
So the next step is to fully research the background, understand human needs and define the problem through asking challenging questions:
What is the real nature of the problem?
What solutions exist already?
Who is the product aimed at and what is the potential market?
What challenges could there be to manufacture?
What competition is there likely to be?
This phase often reveals elements of a problem that were not initially considered. This information helps to clarify the premise of the problem and the proposed solution.
3. Rethink, rework and refine the solution
The cyclical phases of re-evaluating the problem and rethinking solutions are essential parts of the design process that are critical to maximising the potential success of each project.
Does the idea actually solve the initial problem in the best way? Is there a better way to solve the problem considering all the known elements and information?
Through challenging assumptions and generating ideas based on a deep understanding of the problem, a verifiable solution can emerge.
The job of a designer also takes into account a multitude of elements that could add value to a product. These can cover anything from aesthetic form and Emotional Design to materials, functionality, or ergonomic improvement.
Technology has never been so omnipresent and using tech from different sectors is a great way to develop ideas. The Pawtrack GPS cat tracking collars are a great example.
Instead of different, what about better? Product designers are frequently inspired by existing products that can always be improved upon. The TOPL coffee cup is a great example. The modest cup is an everyday object that has existed for thousands of years. How can it be improved even more? Find out how we created a cup to meet new human needs here.
Being that many projects fail due to a lack of forethought, it makes sense to maximise the chances of success through a robust and design thinking process.
4. Put your ideas to the test with a prototype
From sketches to mock-ups and high-tech, fully functioning models, the prototype is the tangible materialisation of an idea or design. Prototyping informs the viability of an idea, manufacturing techniques, forms or choice of materials through testing.
Prototyping allows designers to establish to what extent the idea solves the problem. Often, the discovery of new information and feedback bring the Design Thinking process onto a new cycle. As such, the problem may be redefined, designs may be improved or new ideas generated.
Once this process has been adequately concluded, the focus of the Product Designer is orientated towards the manufacture of the product.
5. Making it real - Manufacturing
The significant issue of manufacturing can frequently bring projects to a grinding halt. When it comes to getting tested and approved product prototypes into production, it takes a safe pair of hands with particular skills and experience to successfully navigate the choppy waters of tooling, manufacturer sourcing and pre-production.
Let’s develop your new product idea...
We’ve seen that moving your project on by working with a product design company can mitigate the risks and increases the chances of success over going it alone.
At Flynn Product Design, we’re here to accompany you on your product development journey. Our one-to-one, confidential design workshops are an accessible and convenient way to explore the future potential of your product idea. We’re dedicated to working with individuals and companies on a one-to-one basis through all stages of the design process including: