Posts Tagged "team collaboration"

Five Questions to Ask a Potential Product Development Partner

September 12, 2016
3D Innovations

product developmentFinding the right product development partner to assist you as you take an idea from concept to product is a major undertaking—and can often be the difference between success and failure.  Product development is a collaborative endeavor, and you want to have a team that is able to clearly communicate, develop and deliver your product on time and on budget.

Here are the five key questions that you need to ask while searching for the right product development company.

How will we define clear requirements?

It’s crucial to be able to clearly define the goals of the engagement early-on. Many times entrepreneurs will need to set these goals before talking with product development firms, so that they are in a better position when asking for, and comparing, proposals.  Depending on the scope of the project, a firm might ask the client to engage in a preliminary “discovery” phase to gather all baseline requirements before submitting a formal proposal. This “discovery” phase is most often used when there is extensive research or testing involved.

What is your related expertise?

Are you looking for a partner that has experience in a particular field, a specialty or quick turnaround? Lay out the characteristics of your ideal firm and begin your search with this criteria in mind. Be cognizant of the fact that you may not find a firm that meets all of your criteria perfectly. It is best to approach companies that are suited to projects your size—a firm with 500 employees might not be an ideal match for an entrepreneur with a $30,000 budget.

How well do you adapt to change?

There is no doubt that the product development path is fraught with obstacles and challenges. A firm that is able to be flexible will serve you well. Flexibility is important for a number of reasons—scope-of-work, design and deadline changes occur frequently and you don’t want each change to be a “battle” between you and the firm.

What method do you use for setting deliverables?

A common understanding of deliverables is necessary to demonstrate results. A lack of agreement on deliverable from the onset is a big factor in dissatisfaction from both parties. Without set deliverables, debates about quality and expectations are bound to happen—which leads to frustration and wasted time.

For example: Is a prototype a required deliverable? If so, do you need it to be a proof-of-concept, or a functional model? Going into details such as this will help clarify deliverables for both parties.

What will our acceptance criteria be?

Breaking larger projects into phases is common and payments can be contingent on the phase being “complete”, therefore both parties need a clear understanding of what “complete” means. This leads back to deliverables—have they been met and are both parties satisfied that they were met in a complete manner? Scheduling final review meetings are an easy way to stay on track with deliverables and to know when each phase has been completed.

The above questions will not only help you find a product development partner, but will set the foundation for a successful, productive and profitable relationship. In the end, you want to get your idea off the drawing board and into the marketplace on time and on budget.

*If you are searching for a product development partner for your next project, contact us at info@3d-innovations.com

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Product Design: What Does It Take To Develop A Successful Product?

August 3, 2016
3D Innovations

Product design is where engineering and art intersect—combining vision with creativity to develop a product that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Designing a product is one thing, but designing a successful product is quite another. A designer must consider both the functional aspects of the product while keeping the consumer’s interest at the forefront—and these two concepts may not always coincide. While the product design process is rife with challenges, having an experienced team in place will help you navigate these obstacles. Before you dive into the product design process, here are five questions to ask yourself.

  1. What real-world problem is my product solving?

    Products find success because they solve an existing real-world problem experienced by many. Offering people a solution to a problem that consumers are already aware of is key. (If you have to convince your target market that they have a problem, you will face an uphill battle when it comes time to market and sell your product.) After you have identified the real-world problem you are aiming to solve, expand from there with the goal of addressing it.

  2. What is the primary function of my product?

    Asking yourself this question will help layout your priorities early in the design process. In essence, it is a mission statement for your design team. All engineering and design decisions should keep this function in mind and make it a priority throughout the entire product development process.

  3. Is every aspect of the design useful?

    Too many features will get in the way and take away from your product’s intended functionality. If you focus on features over functionality it will be easy to get bogged down with too many bells and whistles. This will undoubtedly slow down product development while diminishing your product’s focus. It is best to start with the basics from the onset and then add components as the design progresses.

  4. Is the design of my product intuitive?

    Consumers crave simplicity—products with sleek designs, clean lines and that are easy to navigate. If your product proves to be too complicated or frustrating, consumers will quickly switch to your competitor. When you are working on the design, always approach it from an “outsider’s” perspective to determine if the design is becoming too cumbersome.

  5. What is my competitive edge over the competition?

    Be innovative. Truly innovative products revolutionize industries and quickly surpass the competition. As with any business, you have to know your competitive advantage and be able to articulate it quickly and concisely. Think of this as your “elevator pitch” and intertwine it into all facets of your design and product marketing.

Having the answers to these questions will not only keep your design on track but will also help clarify the product for your entire team.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Five Product Development Pitfalls to Avoid

July 12, 2016
3D Innovations

The hardware startup landscape is riddled with product development challenges and barriers, and as an entrepreneur your job is to make sure that you are well equipped to handle whatever comes your way. This by no means is saying that you must have all of the answers—no one is an expert at everything—it is saying that you need to surround yourself with people of differing skill sets to help you along the way.

Below are five common product development pitfalls to avoid as you prepare to develop and launch your product.

costsPoor planning. “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” Managing your risk and proper product development planning are two ways to overcome this common pitfall. Without a plan in place you leave the door open to errors and derailment. Though plans can—and do—change having one in place is a good way to minimize risk and reduce your time-to-market.

IP Risk. A survey of the IP landscape for your specific product/industry can greatly reduce this risk. Patent attorneys and engineers work together to make sure that your idea is not already patented and that there is ample room to innovate.

Market Risk. While you might find your product to be useful, is there a customer base for it? Are there other people out there who would purchase this product? Assessing the market risk is done through market research. Find your target market and work with them to gauge their needs and build a product that works for them.

Cost Risk. Can you make a profit? You want to be sure that your design is both effective and efficient. Minimizing your costs from the onset is the best way to combat this pitfall. The manufacturing phase of product development is where many entrepreneurs face this challenge. Research manufacturers and find one that has experience manufacturing a product similar to yours—chances are if they have experience, there will be fewer (costly) errors.

Competitive Risk. Work with professionals and team members that have experience navigating your industry. The experience they bring to your startup is invaluable and will help you get to market much faster, thus reducing your competitive risk.

Developing a product and launching a startup is a great adventure. Starting the process prepared and aware of these common pitfalls will undoubtedly help you throughout your entire product development and product launch journey.

Do you have further questions about the product development process? We would love to help! Send them our way, info@3d-innovations.com

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Product Design: An Innovation Focused Mindset

May 3, 2016
3D Innovations

innovation2Innovation is a buzzword that is thrown around quite a bit, and especially when it comes to product development. Every new consumer product or software startup is “innovative” or pushing the boundaries of “innovation”. While it is easy to get lost in all the noise, one thing remains true, individuals and businesses thrive on being innovative and succeed when they make innovation a top priority.

Three ways to incorporate an innovation mindset into your product design:

  1. Be open to collaboration. Each individual on your team has a unique skill set and a different way of approaching challenges. As an entrepreneur it can be hard to wavier from your initial design, but being open to suggestions and collaboration will only help throughout the product design process. As David Allen, a leading productivity consultant, has stated, “You can do anything – but not everything”.
  2. Do your research. Take time to thoroughly research and investigate—your competition, the industry niche, industry leaders, and feedback from potential consumers. The information gathered from your research will only enhance your product design. You want to be sure that your product will stand out among the competition and that it is exactly what consumers are looking for.
  3. Test ideas. Come up with an idea, test it out and refine it. No idea is going to be 100% perfect the first go around. It is going to take a few attempts to settle on a design that both you and future customers will love. Don’t be afraid to change direction, nothing is set in stone this early in the product development cycle.

The right innovation mindset will take your product design from idea to impact. You started this entrepreneurship journey to make a difference and change the marketplace—allow your mindset and designs to evolve to meet these goals.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

Innovation Is The Result Of Collaboration

April 7, 2016
3D Innovations

Over the centuries we have come to romanticize innovation as a spark of genius in one individualthe eureka moment—in which a solution to a real world problem is suddenly solved. This fallacy indirectly tells us that some people are innovative while others simply are not. However, this could not be further from the truth.

For instance, we all recognize Alexander Fleming as the brilliant mind behind penicillin—he stumbled across this miracle medicine and single handily created the field of antibiotics. In truth, the creation of penicillin took decades and the collaboration of many individuals. While Fleming did write about his finding in 1929, he did not have the skill set to study penicillin in any detail and turn it into a workable compound, Fleming was brilliant but he was not a trained chemist.

teamIn 1939, two chemists, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain came across Fleming’s paper and immediately understood the significance of his findings. They used their skill sets to product penicillin in quantity and began experimentation of it. Once they understood that this medicine could have a profound impact on society they needed to find a way to produce it in a massive quantitiesin steps the Rockefeller Foundation, which provided the necessary funding to develop methods in which it could be mass produced. In 1945, Fleming, Florey, and Chain received the Nobel Prize for medicine. So while, one man is often given sole credit in the history books for this great invention, it in fact, took the skill sets of many people to test the idea and bring it to market.

We started this post with the Fleming narrative to help alleviate the stress many entrepreneurs feelthat they have to come up with a magical business idea and execute it on their own. This is simply not true.

Building a team to help execute your idea is optimal. With a team you are imploring the talents and skill sets of many individuals. Not only do these skill sets help with execution, but they aid in the entire product development process. A team member might bring up a feature that you simply have not considered yet, or have an idea on how to broaden your market reach. Surrounding yourself with people of differing skill sets will greatly increase your chances for a successful product launch.

Collaboration is the ultimate competitive advantage for businesses in any stagestartups to multinational corporations. The individuals on your team each have a role to play in innovation, and by harnessing these talents, you will effectively build a stronger product and business.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today