The Circle of (Project) Life
PHASE 0 – ENQUIRY
This is the beginning of any project; clients get in touch with us and arrange a Zoom call to connect, and understand client requirements as well as giving us the opportunity to explain the process, look at similar case studies and start forming a basic timeline. Prior to any discussion, we are happy to sign an NDA but we will require a non-detailed but basic overview of the project, just so we can make sure it doesn’t conflict with any other NDAs we’ve signed. This is the perfect stage to start forming a good working relationship with the client.
PHASE 1 – RESEARCH
This is one of the most important stages of any project, as it could end up being quite costly if not properly done. The research phase is where we start to gather the groundwork for any project, especially for bigger projects that haven’t necessarily been done before. In this stage, we find out the consumer base, any similar products that are already out there, and become aware of the standards, patterns and the market that the product will be entering into. We achieve this through a number of ways, including surveys, focus groups, and mind mapping.
PHASE 2 – INITIAL CONCEPT
Now this is where we start getting creative; taking the research we’ve done in the previous stage and breaking it down even more, looking into the solutions to the problems we’ve found in the research stage. This sometimes leads to finding many solutions, or what we call ‘blue sky ideas’ which are slightly higher risk because they’re unique. The outcomes vary from project to project, but some ideas can be patentable and worth protecting from the start. Even though it may not be fully developed, it may be strong enough to speak to an IP lawyer and apply for a patent.
PHASE 3 – DESIGN DEVELOPMENT
The intent in this stage is to develop a feasible product; this involves taking the ideas from Phase 2 and really getting into the techy details, creating lo-fidelity prototypes (from cardboard/foam), and early testing to detect any issues with current design, finding out what works and what doesn’t, all the way through to finding any additional parts that may be needed. Yet another important stage without going into all the finer details.
PHASE 4 – PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
At this point, we take the already defined prototype from Phase 3 and develop it further. This is where we create a 3D CAD prototype, conduct further testing and start thinking about how it may be best to manufacture it (and how much it will cost). We look at a number of things; aesthetics (materials, surfaces) and fine-tuning the small details, but also looking at how to make the product more sophisticated, as well as understanding the knock-on effects of manufacturing and getting to the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) stage.
PHASE 5a – MARKETING
Once the prototype is finalised, it is finally time to get it out there and create public attention for the product. This stage normally includes 3D visualisations, photography, videography, and any other media related material that can be shown to potential or already established investors. PHASE 5b – INVESTMENT Both steps in Phase 5 go hand in hand; this time round it’s time to utilise the marketing materials to raise funds for manufacturing the product and bringing it to life. With a lot of projects, the client will need to gain investors and financial support to make this happen. We’ve noticed that Kickstarter is one of the more popular places to go to for just that. This stage will not only gain you the financial requirements, but it will also validate your product, meaning there’s a spark of interest out there!
PHASE 6 – ENGINEERING
And now it’s time to start the design and manufacture stage of the product, or as we call it DFM (Design for Manufacturability). Here, we take a defined prototype, make any last changes with feedback from investors/potential clients, and create all the finalised paperwork for our manufacturer; this includes all costing, finish, assembly, any testing that may need to be done, quality control procedures, shipping plan, supplier details, all quotes, and any other information that may be required.
PHASE 7 – MANUFACTURING
This is where it gets really exciting! All the ground work has been done and your product is finally being created, for real this time! During the manufacturing process, there is still room for fine tuning any minor details of the product to make sure it really is top notch. This is also the stage where you need to consider how the product will be packaged (whole or in parts and instructions), but also thinking about the last parts from the logistical perspective, and ensuring it meets the courier’s requirements.
PHASE 8 – EVALUATION
Your product is LIVE! It’s out there in the real world, making this part of the process full of feedback from customers which can in turn help you refine the manufacturing process (if need be). Continuous improvement is important to make sure your product is accessible to everyone, whether this means changing the colour or adapting user guides. Whatever it may be, this is the point to get it done. FOOTNOTE: This methodology outlines a very broad product specification, which means it will be adapted to your specific needs to ensure you achieve what you’ve set out to.
FOOTNOTE: This methodology outlines a very broad product specification, which means it will be adapted to your specific needs to ensure you achieve what you’ve set out to.
Think we could help you with your next project? Why not send us an enquiry and arrange a call to discuss the best option for your next venture.