Create a functional product.

The climax of the product development process is the Develop Phase.  This is where you see if your idea actually works!  The details for how to bring your product to life vary depending on the complexity and nature of the product, as well as the resources available.  In general, the Develop Phase will have two parts to it:



Make a drawing and/or conceptual prototype.

Produce a functional prototype.

The purpose of a product drawing is to convey your idea to others.  Therefore, how detailed and aesthetic the drawing needs to be will depend on your audience and the complexity of your product.  Oftentimes, manufacturers can create a product using pictures and simple sketches.  Othertimes, you may want 3D models or even animations.

Having a conceptual prototype is helpful for experimentation.  If you're not sure your product will work, or if  you have multiple ideas for how to produce it, you may want to build a few rough prototypes using cheap materials and skipping aesthetic details.  This allows you to test the feasibility of your product idea and work out the bugs before creating a high-quality, functional prototype.

When you're ready to take the leap and produce that final prototype, you will want your manufacturer to create it.  Not only will this show what the actual products will be like, but it will also expose processing difficulties and considerations.  Therefore, it is important to figure out your sourcing arrangements before beginning to create a prototype.  Check out our blog post on sourcing for more information.   Sourcing can refer to how you get components to make your product and/or how you get your final product made via contract manufacturing (hiring a manufacturer to make your product for you).


After making the final prototype, you should have details finalized regarding how much it will cost to produce your product commercially and how quickly it can be ordered, made, and delivered.  But you're not done yet!  There's still one more step in the new product development process:

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