We all like to think up new inventions and some of the best inventions out there have been ones that have been thought up by ordinary people with extraordinary creativity and brought to market. Every single product you see on the shelves, from baby formula prep machines to curved nail files have all started out as an idea in someone’s head and have been brought to market. The products you love the most all came to life through the long – and sometimes painful – process of invention.
The first thing you need to know about your idea, is that it isn’t unattainable. Some of the wackiest inventions are also the most creative and while the road to product is a very long one, often with many pitfalls, it can be extremely rewarding. The product you have come up with in your head could well be a reality, but you should be prepared for the setbacks and roadblocks along the way.
Before you can give your concept and design over to a developer to help you build a prototype, there are a lot of things that you need to do yourself so that you can make your idea a reality. We have put together a list of steps for you that you need to take so that you can bring your idea to concept and hopefully to the shelves in the stores!
One of the biggest and most important jobs that you have as someone who wants to design a product, is market research. The people you will be marketing your product to matter greatly, and there’s no point in trying to design and make a product a success if you haven’t consulted the masses. Everyone from food manufacturers to those involved in medical industrial designs all go through market research, surveys and focus groups to see whether their product would even be of interest. Bringing a product through the design and manufacturing process is not easy and it is fairly expensive, so checking what is already out there and sizing up the competition to see what they’re doing is just good business. Being able to answer questions about your product and understanding exactly what is already on the market will give you a good idea of what is in demand. Be prepared to adapt your product – the people want what they want and listening to market research is going to help you get where you want to be.
When you think about your product and how it could change things for a lot of people, do you think about whether someone has already had the same idea as you? If not, then it’s time to sit down and have a serious think about this! The likelihood is that your product already on the market and if this is the case, then you should research the patents. There is an official US Patent and Trademark Office where you can check and see whether your idea is going to infringe on copyright. This is the last thing you need, so making tweaks and adjustments to your design is important. Stepping on the toes of someone else’s intellectual property is pointless – all it does is bring a lawsuit to your door. Plus, you want to be original! Having a session or two with an attorney to discuss patents to help you gain a real understanding of what you need to do to protect your design without infringing any rules.
So, let’s assume that you have done the research and spent months ensuring that you haven’t breached any legalities. Now is the time to bring your idea to the development table and start to turn it into a reality. The best thing here is that your prototype can be anything from artistically drawn designs to a fully functioning and working product. Most people who design and invent a product choose to go the whole hog and bring a working product to the table, so that anyone they are marketing their design to can do more than just imagine your idea. You need to choose whether you want your product to be a fully manufactured idea, or licensed for someone else to use.
Manufacturing your idea by yourself requires you finding the funds to create and market the product and you are in total control from start to finish. This is a great road to go down if you like to keep control of the situation. Licensing your product means you sell a company the rights to create, market and sell your product in exchange for license fees and royalties. Some prefer to go down this route, reaping the reward for their well-thought-out idea without too much more hard work. As with anything, there are pros and cons to both so ensuring that you do your research first!!
Innovation and development is all about timing and that is the exact reason market research, peer studies and targeted focus groups are crucial. You want to be successful in getting your idea off the ground and if you don’t play the game right, you could end up stuck at the starting gate after the pistol has gone off. Be spontaneous and bring your idea to the table sooner than later – the last thing you would want is someone else pipping you to the post with the same idea and doing well with it.
Your product and idea should be continuously researched and you should test your product as often as possible so that you can tweak and make changes as often as the public demands. Nearly every product on the market goes through changes and upgrades – just look at your smartphone. Having a good idea is wonderful, but you have to have the foresight and innovative mind to chase it to the top. This will include adaptations and learning from feedback from those who buy your product. Innovation is a process of learning, and as long as you are willing to listen, you can be a success.