Making It Real: Steps to Designing a Great Product



Obsessed with creating great products for our clients, Speck Design has worked with companies large and small to bring scores of products to market.  In this video, Denise Pilsken gives an overview of the steps it takes to realize a product vision from ideation to creation.  From understanding your value proposition in Phase 1 Discovery to the all-important Phase 6  First Customer Ship--this presentation is designed to give prospective clients a high-level understanding of how to successfully make your vision into a concrete product that sells.

Presentation Transcript:

Speck Design Presentation

Steps to Designing a Great Product

Speaker: Denise Pilskin/Senior Director Product Development Strategy

[00:48] We've been in business for over 25 years and I already talked a little bit about this but we work with companies small and large.  We work with Google Facebook Apple folks like that but we do a lot of work with entrepreneurs.

[01:05] This is our passion. We love working with early-stage entrepreneurs as partners and mentors as well as your designers.  

[01:49] So, one of the things that we do and what we're going to talk about here is moving from concept through to manufacturing.   Your goals are going to be if your startup is moving through the funding process and  working with your design partners to design just enough to get you to funding.  Some people come in and they’ve got a budget and they come in, they hire us and then they're going to go all the way through to production.  For some folks it's doing a proof-of-concept to do very early testing and maybe to do some marketing studies.  For other people it is going to get to a fully functional prototype and then for others going all the way to production from the very beginning.

[04:19] Phase 1 can be a broad number of things; this is usually the discovery phase.  So, we're looking at who's going to use your product.  What are the unmet needs it's going to address?

[05:07] There's all kinds of unmet needs that you can find out about even if your product is a new category of product and it's very important because if there's no need your product is probably not going to be very successful.  

[05:26] Another thing that we talked about is what is your value proposition. Why would somebody want to use your product? 

[05:41] Bootstrap research

[05:48] Formal research

[06:24] Now,  another part of discovery, which I don't have listed in here, is early engineering feasibility studies.

[07:04] So, the next phase is concept design and this is when it starts to get really fun.

[08:58] In the next phase, we're going to do what we call “concept refinement”.  So, this is where we're going to work out all of the engineering details;  we're going to make sure that the product is technically viable.  At the end of this phase we often do a non-functional rapid prototype. 

[09:43] In phase 3, we have worked out in CAD most all of the engineering details.

[10:29] Until we move into the real prototype phase you don't know 100%-- is this really going to work right?  It's one thing to have it in CAD but it's another thing to do real prototypes.  And, so these --the first P0 prototype-- is what we call the first functional prototype.

[10:58] MVP:  Minimum Viable Product 

[11:35] At P0, you have proven-out your design. 

[12:25] We move on then to the P1.   Now, P1 is still pre-tooled, but it is going to look and function and act like a real product. At this point we're heavily involved with the manufacturer and we've got a complete engineering package.

[13:06] [Phase 5] In product design you've got, I would say, three basic categories.   You've got your early Discovery where you're going to do patent work you're going to do feasibility.  Then you've got your middle stage which is design and early prototypes.  And then you have your final stage as far as just getting the product ready to go to market and this is when we do our first pilot build.  We're working closely with the manufacturing partner in this is where we're doing the first tool parts.

[15:41] During this portion we are moving the focal point from the design activity to the manufacturing activity.   And at this point,  we move more into a support role where we're doing documentation.  We are supporting the manufacturer.  And we're supporting something, an acronym F-A-I.  That is:  First Article Inspection.

[17:05] First customer ship: this is when we have gone through, we've inspected everything, and by we I actually don't mean we because now it really is in the hands of what we call the CM-- the contract manufacturer.

[19:20] At that point Speck (or your design consultancy) really is mostly out of the picture unless problems arise or there are changes.

[21:41]  Some ways of raising funds are Angel Investors. These are wealthy individuals who usually work together in groups and we'll put together funds. Usually we're looking at something to $50,000 to $100,000 or maybe less than $50,000 but usually not more than $100,000 for Angel Investors.

[22:48]  The other is friends and family.  Well, friends and family again you need to make sure you're comfortable knowing that you might not be successful.

[24:19] In supply chain strategy,  what we're looking at is where are we going to buy the parts?  Are we going to buy them onshore or offshore? 

[25:34] Back to channel strategy.  Again,  are you selling it yourself?  Are you going to try to get it into stores?

[27:13] Now it's a little bit different because it's much easier to sell yourself online but the next issue is how do you get the word out?

[27:54] The last one relates to the previous slide-- do you have sufficient capital?

[28:25] You need to have, also,  a marketing budget.  You need to have a budget to buy what we call  MOQ (a minimum order quantity of your parts).   Do you have money to hire people who can do the support work? 

[29:29] We talk  about that in terms of funding events.  So, you want to make sure you’ve  got sufficient Capital to get to your first funding event and then to get to whatever your next funding event is.

[30:05] There's a whole world of things that we have not discussed in here, right? You got to have your branding.  

[31:13] Packaging.  So,  this is something that we do for folks all the time.  The packaging is sometimes the first experience people have with the product,  at least physically,  and everybody knows from what Apple has done that out-of-the-box experience is extremely important. 

[32:07]  We talked a little bit about selling on the web.   So, you're going to have to have a website.   

[32:24] And, of course, all of your marketing.  Making sure that, again, your brand identity goes all the way through.

[32:37] Team composition:  My feeling is you want to make sure you've got the right folks on the bus.  I think that lots of different skills can be learned.  Certainly, you want to have people who have the right skills but you want to make sure you got the right fit of people.

[33:08] Are you ready for a board? Do you want to have outside professionals that actually have a say in the business? Or do you want to have a board of advisors who don't have any kind of legal obligation to the company, but are important?  They’re your mentors.  They’re people who've gone through this before who can give you actual advice. 

[33:40] What is your exit strategy? And this is going to make a big difference when you go to get funding.  So, do you want to run your own company? 

[34:23] Are you going to partner?  And if you're going to partner,  who would your partners be? 

[34:45] And then license.  Often if you're not interested in the business of running a company, licensing your technology can be a great way to bring in income.

[35:17] And then the final is-- to sell or to be acquired?  If you know that that is what your end goal is, you want to start when you look at branding;  you want to start positioning yourself.  

 [39:46] Packaging is the easiest thing to conquer as far as sustainability.  But more and more we are looking at materials,  making sure that we can use recyclable materials. 

[41:00] Feel free to reach out to me through Linkedin. My name is Denise Pilskin and you're welcome to reach out to me anytime for questions or any kind of advice.

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