It should be well understood that people do not buy products or services, they buy solutions to their problems. So you must first have a clear understanding of the problem you want to solve. Only then you can aim to solve that problem with a great product or service.
Once you know the problem, you need to determine how to solve it. The solution to a problem might be straightforward, or it might not. For example a straightforward solution is when engineers are confident there is at least one obvious approach. However a non straightforward solution is when engineers are confident there isn't any obvious approaches, and instead its likely there will be several attempts to solve the problem via trialing and testing. Non straightforward solutions also might involve scientific methods using existing and non existing research science.
The relative total project cost/timeline difference between straightforward projects and non straightforward projects, is significant. Simply because one does know how many attempts to solve the problem are required. Each attempt might be completely different strategies. Once at least one approach is found to work, engineers are back addressing one obvious approach.
It should be also well understood that while engineers might have at least one obvious approach to solving a problem. Engineers are still innovating and integrating with 3rd party technologies to develop a novel product for a target application. So your still doing something that hasn't been done before, which will still require trial and testing before commiting to production - this means the approach might require rework, bug fixes, and overcoming setbacks, along with unexpected or unforeseen challenges. It is for these reasons, new product development always has high uncertainty, high risk and is considered R&D.
To put it all in a different way. R&D can be frustrating - setbacks can occur and Murphy's law is common. Estimating is hard - Hofstadter's law is common. Some things can be affected by the Pareto Principle - in terms of R&D, the last 20% of the project may take 80% of the time. There is much support out there for startups. The development phase and initial sales is well known to be called the Valley of Death. We'd suggest reaching out to some innovation support spaces to share stories which maybe able to help with the stress. We believe there is much merit in Thomas J. Watson quote - "If you want to succeed, double your failure rate" and Thomas Jefferson quote "With great risk often comes great reward".
The next section outlines possible phases for a straightforward projects. For non straightforward projects, the path forward is fuzzy. So the first step is to proceed with bite-sized reviews. This allows assessment of the problems/solutions against existing technologies to propose the most feasible approaches for trial and testing. Then propose ideal methods to do the trialing and testing, such as mathematical calculations, computer modeling, computer simulations and/or real-world scale modeling via rapid prototyping methods.
Once you have a idea for a product. Have confirmed there is a market for your product. Then you are ready to start the review, planning, designing and prototyping of a new product idea. This involves the following phases:
For some projects, is it hard to know if the product idea can even be achieved in engineer terms (i.e. technically feasible), or in cost terms (i.e. financially feasible). Or perhaps one needs to determine the possible size of the market. If we believe this is the case, we might advise that two additional phases might be required after/during/before phase 1:
For more information on new product development (NPD) see wikipedia about "NPD".
We appreciate the cost of development is a significant burden. It is important to not worry too much about the development costs - it is a one-time cost (i.e. fixed cost as opposed to marginal cost). As long as you have a good product to drive sales, the fixed development cost just moves your break-even point. We would advise that you focus on reducing your marginal costs (e.g. unit cost), as that directly affects your profit.
It is well understood that New Product Development (NPD) always has uncertainty and is considered R&D. The total cost is driven by the evolution of end user (i.e. client and potential customers) testing and feedback. It is for these reasons, we appreciate the actual total project development cost is unknown. So depending on the size of the project and/or its life cycle, further funding might be required, before, during or after any of the project life-cycle steps.
Funding the development cost of a product is known as Seed money, and can be raised in various ways.
Self-funding is the best option, but if you require external funding, here are some options:
This funding option seems to be the most popular for new inventors.
Basically you could do a strategy like this:
This way someone else pays for all the development costs, and you get a business mentor (and all their contacts).
Types of Investors:
You could use the prototypes, plus a promotional video on crowd funding platforms such as http://kickstarter.com
Generally if you can not self-fund your project, you will need to draw up a business plan and use concept design material (e.g. life-like product visualisation as photos or 3D animations). Or a early prototype to explain and demostrate the purpose of your product. If this is the case, please let us know as we can provide you with life-like concept design material, or an early prototype.
To help with grant applications, business plan, etc - we'd suggest contacting the Gold Coast Innovation Hub.
Here are a few great links to further information about raising funds for your product:
Our team is comprised of a small group of very talented unique individuals, including robotics engineers and PhD scientists. Each have been passionately learning and developing their technical arts since childhood. Together we bring a wealth of experience and cross-pollination of skills. This allows us to provide you with the most ideal solution for your needs.
It is also important to understand that having a skilled team like us, will not mean your project is going to cost more then a company that does not have robotics and PhD scientists. In fact, because we have these skills on the team, your project can be completed cheaper and quicker then companies without such skills (e.g. companies that specialise in just mechanics, or electronics, or software, or concept artistic design). Furthermore, having our team on your project, means the design can be optimised for minimum viable product (MVP) - which is important for maximizing return on investment.
For more information, please see our about us page.
Great products evolve through user testing and feedback from bench/field testing. Because of this, it is very common that the end/final product is very different then the initial concept/plan/prototype.
From our experience the best approach for NPD is agile-like methods. That is: one tries to get an initial prototype very fast and then show it to the end users, to get feedback and improve. The user testing and feedback and improvement cycle should be short to minimise risk. This also means NPD projects should not try to solve all the problems at once, as this increases the development risk/cost/timeline.
It is for these reasons, the following terms best fit this type of work:
To proceed, please contact us to advise us of your project brief, concept and/or list of objectives, so that we can start the project review phase.