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How to Develop An Idea into a Product | Process Demystified

No two products are developed the same way. While two entrepreneurs can conceive similar ideas simultaneously, project execution will most likely differ. For instance, one might require long hours of study to carry out the project, especially if they are not knowledgeable in such a field. On the flip side, the other entrepreneur could be an expert in the same industry. And they might not have to spend much time on the product development process. 

However, notwithstanding the dynamic nature of product development, there is a generally applicable procedure. To have seamless production, we’ve come up with 10 phases peculiar to most product development processes. So if I have an idea for an innovation, it would be helpful if I followed these rules. 

At the end of this article, you will realize how helpful these steps are in assigning portfolios to designated project mates.

 What Is the Product Development Process?

In simple terms, the product development process is the aggregate of all activities required to fine-tune an idea and make it commercially available. From the stage when you conceive an idea to the research and production phases, we can deduce that these activities are usually interrelated.

It is worth mentioning that the product development process is not just a ritual that every idea must pass through – deliberate effort is required. 

For sure, if rightly done and faithfully followed, this production roadmap will increase your odds of success. 

Product Discovery

For every successful product, there is an initial evaluation of societal challenges. Ideas are not just handpicked and immediately developed into products. You must identify the problems and the suitable solutions.

When you’ve got ideas to work on, they ought to pass through several tests. Accordingly, the McKinsey Data Institute postulates that out of every 7 ideas, only 4 pass the test of fire. And among the 4 ideas that make it to the development stage, just one is likely to succeed. 

At the product discovery stage, you should bring all your options to the table. Here’s the opportunity to screen your ideas. Utilize the SWOT analysis to identify your strengths and weaknesses. The idea with the most opportunities and lesser threats proceeds to the next phase, where you could need the expertise of product design companies. 

Concept Design

Ideas will remain idle unless you bring them to life. After selecting the most viable option of your ideas, you should have an illustrative rendition of the product, similar to a prototype. 

You can sketch the rough idea of the product at first. Subsequently, you can make necessary adjustments. The most important thing to note at this stage is not to have a perfect illustration but rather a legible representation of the product’s components and their functions.  

If you are unsure of your illustrative skills, you can outsource a 3D rendition of the product to product design companies. Our team will be happy to assist you with that.

Provisional Patent Application

Now that you are aware that you can use external product design services, let’s double back to when we talked about two developers conceiving the same idea. 

If you are not proactive, another innovator could eventually reap the benefits of your proposed product. Also, you need to protect your intellectual property from being hijacked by a third party. So if I have an idea for an innovation, how can I preserve the commercial value of my product?

The answer herein lies in a provisional patent application. Once you’ve filed this application, you can discuss your product idea anywhere without fearing intellectual property theft. 

Although this application is only valid for 12 months, you’ve got the exclusive right to the product’s design, size, and other related features. 

Below is the process for filing your Provisional Patent Application

Research Your Invention

If I have an idea for an innovation and want to make a provisional patent application, I must be sure that the product idea is exclusive to me. If you research and discover another person owns the same or similar idea, you should probably back off. 

Gather Patent Information

Your patent application must include information about the product. Specifications, sketches, and what problems you are trying to solve should be included. 

Write a Coversheet

The cover sheet contains even more information. You are expected to state the investor(s) name(s), addresses, attorney’s credentials, and correspondence address. There must also be full disclosure about whether any government agency has interests in the product idea. 

Product Description

Here, you are expected to disclose all relevant details of the invention. Technicalities like dimensions, schematics, etc., are all required.  

Once you are done with the provided steps, it is advisable to review every detail. Make additions and remove unnecessary information if possible. You can now submit it to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

If you are unsure of how to go about product description, product design companies can help you out.

Potential Consumer Survey

Before investing a dime, entrepreneurs should seek consumers’ opinions. If you don’t verify targeted customers’ preferences and how much they are willing to pay, you might be wasting your capital. 

It is important to ensure that customers are ready to pay for your product. Again, cheaper does not always equal greater patronage. Don’t shortchange yourself if your product is worth the price. 

Prototyping

It is almost impossible to arrive at a finished product in the product development cycle without first rolling out the prototypes. Remember that you are making the product for a target audience, and you cannot be too sure if their preferences are changing. Hence, you should make a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). 

In the same vein, one of your goals as an entrepreneur is to maintain a loyal customer base. But this can be pretty difficult to achieve if customers don’t have a sense of belonging in your production process. If you want customers to feel like a part of the family, make product prototypes and consider the feedback. You can then make improvements and improve product value. 

IP Protection 

A lot of work goes into product development. Thus, it is only advisable to protect your hard work throughout the production cycle. Patents, design rights, trademarks, and copyrights are examples of Intellectual Property you may be willing to protect. If any company violates your intellectual property rights, you may seek adequate compensation accordingly. 

Design for Manufacturing 

Developers learn a great deal from their product prototypes. After releasing about two prototypes to the market, it’s time to make final design arrangements. Whatever additions you make to the product at this stage are final, so you must be meticulous and decisive. 

Before you make the product available to the consumers, ensure to carry your team along. Further, work with the best vendors and share a progress report with the stakeholders. And if your team is not yet satisfied with the product design, go back to the drawing table and examine their concerns. Product design companies could be hired for the best results.

Marketing Materials

The best products even after employing the best product design services. So before the official launching of your product, you should have an effective marketing strategy. Research and map out the popular platforms to reach your targeted audience. 

A user-friendly landing page, emails, and social media account are helpful in this regard. 

Licensing and Venturing

Apart from solving problems, your goal as an innovator is to maximize profits.

From day one of your product development process, you should bear in that investors are monitoring your progress. As you begin to experience business expansion, some bidders will approach you with offers for your intellectual property. Consequently, you may need to employ the services of an attorney to negotiate licensing terms with interested companies. 

Product Launch

It’s the beginning of a new dawn in your entrepreneurship journey. You have toiled day and night for this day to come, and you cannot wait to take the market by storm. 

At this point, your product development team is bowing out. The burden now rests on the marketing team for a successful launch. The marketing strategy also comes to play here. You can make the official announcement in front of targeted customers or opt for billboards. 

Many times, product developers take a break after a product launch. They fail to realize that a successful product launch does not equal a successful market reign. Accordingly, you should take an active role in monitoring the product’s progress. At no point should you ever relax or stop being innovative. 

Uber, for instance, continually innovates. The company is well-informed about the world’s economic conditions. This informs the social class. Uber then updated their products portfolio to include both luxury and cheaper rides. Also, food ordering services were added. And that is probably why no ride-hailing company comes close to Uber, which had a net worth of $47.89B in 2021.

A Classical Example of the Product Development Process

Airbnb

If you are not familiar with the elements of product development, you might not understand how 

Airbnb started from having no capital to having a market cap of $78.41 Billion in 2022. 

Indeed, it is not surprising that the company is able to make a mark in the industry. The founders,  Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharczyk, were not moved by their lack of funding. Instead, they understood the fundamentals of product development, and they didn’t hesitate to practice it.

Airbnb founders only needed validation that their idea was viable. Therefore, to achieve this, they put out one of their apartments for a short term. And to confirm their genius, many users indicated an interest in the rentals. Since this validation, Airbnb keeps dominating the lodging industry. 

Conclusion

As a product developer, one must not be afraid to invest in the right product. If I have an idea for an innovation, I must ensure to give it the best shot. As long as your product is innovative and it solves the corresponding problem, your customer base will keep growing. And, in turn, you will have more resources to fund other projects. 

Additionally, choosing the right product development partner is crucial. And outsourcing product design services is also a fantastic decision.

If you are looking to fund your brilliant product idea, don’t sweat it. We’ve got a reputable platform to help you out. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding community that can make your dreams come true. If I have an idea for an innovation, we  are experienced developers that can guide newbies. 

If you’ve got questions and clarifications, don’t hesitate to reach out to us immediately. Good luck as you start this new phase!

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