Product development….no place for the faint hearted

By Peter Kerr 31/05/2012

Some interesting thoughts on product development at a gathering-cum-lecture at Victoria University’s School of Design.

Now there’s almost entire libraries devoted into taking an idea through the design and product development process – so compressing theory and practice into just under three hours was a pretty good primer.

The 80 or so people, including a fair swag of the Design School students heard stories of how to identify winning products and develop them successfully, and sometimes not so successfully.

The lecture was repeated the next night out in Lower Hutt, so the presenters could probably expect more hands-on manufacturers at that location.

The three main speakers were talking about, (mostly, except for Kah Chan who was more about gaming apps) physical objects and product creation. director Tim Allan had some nice sound bites for people going down a research and development phase.

  • Ideas are a battleground for egos, where objectivity has no place (& on a similar theme)
  • Ideas are possessions which have no time for objectivity
  • When researching, it is the relationships between things that are important
  • During the early research phase, you’re looking for insights
  • Leading (with a new product or service), changes everything; be prepared

Paul Davies of EverEdge IP reckons that most companies completely under-estimate the IP that they have. Most (initially) only regard patents and trademarks as IP.

But, if you look under the hood of many companies, there is a huge amount of know-how and trade secrets, that if packaged correctly is a sellable item on its own.

“You can only value what you identify,” Davies says. The process required to make use of IP is:

  • Identification
  • Assessment
  • Development
  • Articulation
  • Exploitation

Motovated’s boss, Jonathon Prince warned against “starting at the concept.”

“It means you miss out on the ideation, the intellectual property creation bit,” he says.

The School of Design speakers, Tim Miller, Tiago Rorke and Kah Chan gave some different perspectives on trying to get new product ideas off the ground. If there was one lesson it is, ‘it isn’t easy’.

The School sees a newly emerging scenario – Exporting to the Internet.

Present in the audience were Lee Bennett and Nick Taylor, the founders of new Wellington creative/creation space (with sophisticated kit as well), MakerSpace.

The internet is exactly where MakerSpace users/partners will take their new products to the world, perhaps after testing user/buyer reaction at outlets such as the Frank Kitts market.

MakerSpace has just taken delivery of its industrial-sized 3D printer – no stopping them now!