Product Design and Development, The Process of Creation

To put it in layman’s terms. a product is anything that is sold to consumers such as goods, services, or knowledge.

Product design and development describes the process of creating a new product that will be sold to your customers.

At first, it may seem like a broad concept but it essentially refers to the efficiency and effectiveness in generating, as well as developing ideas. Product design and development leads to new products.

Some experts will simply refer to the entire process as product design but it makes the process sound incomplete. This is because the term product design can misconstrue our understanding of meaning.

When some of us hear the term product design, we may immediately think of a designer of some sort.

You may think of a graphic designer or prototype designer. This limits our scope and introduces limitations to the concept, especially when hiring a company to design your product.

Ideally, your product designer should help you create, manufacture and ship your product. Let’s take a look at the eight stages of product design and development.

The Product Design and Development Process

The product design and development process can consist of eight stages.

There are things that every organization needs to consider before launching their product. These stages will help you understand the entire product design and development process.

Collecting Your Ideas and The Ideas of Your Organization

Nothing comes to fruition without starting from an idea. Ideas are the driving force of innovation and progress, as we know it.

Thus, the first stage in the product design and development process is to collect your ideas and those of your employees.

Collecting your own ideas is usually easy. Just pick up a pen and paper then start brain dumping on the page. The challenging part for most organizations is collecting the ideas of everyone in their organization.

Also, you have to be able to screen and evaluate those ideas. To solve this problem, many organizations have started using idea management software tools. Many of these tools run on a database that collects and stores data for later viewing or editing.

Not all ideas are good ones. Thus, it is important that you have a solid means to evaluate and screen every idea.

For example, in 2000 Heinz started producing their ketchup in purple, pink, orange, teal, and blue varieties. Are you thinking a bad idea yet?

The idea was largely inspired by the first Shrek movie and targeted kids. Unfortunately, kids have a short attention span and switch loyalties quickly. Sales for the colorful kinds of ketchups eventually dropped and Heinz pulled them out of the shelves in January 2006.

Idea management software reduces the risk of choosing wrong ideas. They allow organizations to gather their ideas and evaluate them in one place. They will allow everyone in your organization to add new ideas and improve existing ideas. Here is a live example of idea management software in action.

“Everything begins with an idea”. Earl Nightingale – respected speaker and author.

Conduct Research On The Marketplace

Researching your ideas is necessary for gaining insight about the marketplace.

Questions like, is your product solving a problem? Are there people out there that need your product? Who is already offering a similar or the same product? Will competition prevent you from being successful? These questions and more can be answered through product research.

Concept Development

Once you have determined that your idea is a good one and that a product demand exists, you can move on to creating your first prototype.

This does not mean that your idea has to be for a tangible product. You can create prototypes for intangible products as well. The process of creating your first prototype is called concept development.

Market Strategy

Your market strategy addresses your target market and connects your product to the four P’s of marketing.

The four P’s of marketing are:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

Connecting your product to the 4 P’s of marketing will help you create an effective marketing strategy.

 Connecting the 4 P’s to product design and development

Feasibility Analysis

Will your product be too costly to produce? Do you have the right distribution channels in place for your product?

You will need to ask yourself these questions and more. Essentially you will want to make sure that you can sell your product and make money as well.

Product Design

Throughout the product design and development process, you want to keep tweaking the look of your product. You have to test your prototypes and get feedback.

Repeat the test and feedback process enough times until you get it right. As you tweak the look of your product, make sure that you are also improving its functionalities too.

Keep improving your entire product design and development process. Make sure that you are also incorporating all of the information that you get from all the other stages mentioned above.

Pay attention to your design and make sure that it is what your target market wants.

“Design means being good, not just looking good”.  Clement Mok, Entrepreneur, and Author

Test Marketing

Test marketing is the process of testing the acceptance of your product. The best way to test market your product is to give your product to random people within your target market.

If your product is intangible, you can offer a trial period.

Offering a trial of your product is a cost effective way to test the market and collect feedback.

You can use the feedback that you receive to improve your product and determine if your product should officially go to market.

Market Entry

This is when your product officially goes to market and starts being sold. A good way to launch your product is to make a big deal about it.

You can do this by hosting a product launch. For this technique to be successful, you have to make it about the people that will be buying the product, not the product.

Following the product design and development process increases your chances of success.

It will also help you create better products for your organization. However, you need to constantly revisit the process to improve and update your products in order to compete.

Ideally, your goal should be to keep up with your competition or stay ahead of them.

What Are You Doing To Improve Your Development Process?

Is there anything in specific that can help boost the product-building process within your organization, team, or even as an individual? Let us know, so we can help out.