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 Inventing a Retail Product Step #8a

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former mentor




PostSubject: Inventing a Retail Product Step #8a   Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:54 pm

I’m making a prototype….Where do I start?

Depending on the difficulty of you product that answer could be anywhere from the junk drawer in the kitchen (come on, we all have one) to a machine shop down the road. Either way it’s important to understand in an initial prototype it’s all about function not form. It needs to prove the functional hypothesis – we’ll work on pretty later.

I start by breaking the product down into basic parts and wrapping my mind around the function of each one. Then, I go shopping.

I know in this blog it feels like we go shopping a lot – and in fact when you think about it we’re developing a “retail product” stores are the natural habitat of that product - it stands to reason we can gain great knowledge from spending time there.

In this case we’re headed to the store to find things that replicate the functions of the parts in our prototype. In the model trade they call this “Kit Bashing” basically it’s bashing several things to make a new thing. I’ll give you a great example. A few weeks ago I was making a prototype for a new retail product that will be out in the Fall. I needed some fun looking raised lettering, some metal caps and a very strong metal tube. I found it in the craft aisle of a local retailer. The lettering came in the form of press on foam letters, the caps were modified upholstery tacks, and the tube – sure, it was a knitting Needle. Put them all together and I had a quick prototype of this new product – it wasn’t pretty but it proved my working hypothesis.

Break your product down into its basic parts – then start looking around for items in your everyday life that replicate the functions of those parts. It’s actually much easier than you think, and you have proven to yourself and the world your working hypothesis was correct.

The bottom line is when you’re done, you have taken responsibility for the function of your product and you have in fact – Invented something,

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