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Product design – common mistakes

The headlong rush to product design causes many products to fail. Product design is a process. And, much groundwork should be done before committing to design for manufacture. We suggest the following:

1. conduct a patent search to determine whether your product has a new feature that may ultimately be protected. This is particularly important where you need to attract funding for tooling.

2. create a functional prototype on the cheap to confirm that your general design actually works. This is what we specialise in.

3. investigate the “ballpark” cost of the product and conduct small-scale market research (subject to confidentialities) to confirm that there is a demand in the market for the product at the anticipated price.

4. if a demand for the product exists, file a provisional patent for protection.

5. extend market research to clarify the features that the market demands and to firm-up the price that the market is willing to pay for the product.

6. design the product in line with feedback from market research. Frequently the “sales price” requires the “manufacturing cost” to be reduced, which may necessitate certain features to be discarded. The “rule of thumb” is that the ultimate sales price should be at least 3.5, preferably 4 times the cost to manufacture the product.

7. launch a basic model that ticks all the core “market demands”. Later, more expensive versions can add features if the core features are in fact accepted by the market.

8. before releasing your final design protect the shape of your product by filing design registrations. This will keep copycats from eating your lunch.

9. protect your product branding / name by filing a trademark.