There are countless hopeful inventors out there hoping to be the next Franklin or Tesla, who are constructing and deconstructing their prototypes, as well as crafting, brainstorming, and adjusting what they hope will be the next “big thing.” It’s enchanting to fantasize about landing a lucrative license deal and watching your product launch more explosively than a space shuttle – but it’s easy to get swept up in the magic of it all and overlook the hard work. After all, inventions are 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Many an inventor has lost their way after allowing zeal and zest to outweigh their dedication or sense.

Things to do Before Product Prototyping Stage

When developing a new invention, the first steps are always the hardest. It may seem painfully evident, but the best way to start solidifying ideas is to start drawing. Keep a free-form, creativity-heavy prototype notebook. While three-dimensional printing and other quick, efficient tools such as laser-cutting and computer numerical control (CNC) milling have definitively changed the prototype landscape, the average person doesn’t have direct access to these luxuries. As a result, pursuing an outside design firm that specializes in “works-like” prototypes can be a healthy investment. Additionally, your sketch notebook will grow even more integral when the time comes to file IP or talk to a specialized firm to get a prototype fabricated.

After you have sketched out ideas, it’s time to buckle down and dive into research. The phrase “Google it” is firmly cemented into our society, and it’s strongly encouraged that future or aspiring inventors spend some considerable time investigating what’s out there on the Internet. There are a plethora of broken-hearted inventors who thought they had struck million-dollar ideas, and concurrently spent considerable time, effort, and money trying to get their product design or idea off the ground, only to find that their great innovations had debuted years earlier.

Admittedly, this discovery research phase isn’t the most glorious or enthralling chapter on the road toward product launch. But it must be done.

In the adolescence of a product’s lifecycle, there may be many ideas bubbling up in one’s head, and many sequential iterations of a product that the general product theme tends to evolve often. Going straight to computer-aided design (CAD) could be wasteful, time consuming, and costly.

While your initial concepts may be an offshoot of what someone else has created, you may find a gap in the marketplace that you can tweak your design to fill. Your research may even result in an enhanced product idea that is even better than the one you initially idealized.