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  Home  >  Technical Articles  >  Product Development  >  Step 1 - Process Overview
The Product Development Process
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Bright Idea

the "Bright Idea"
(Start Here)


Steps of the Process:

Step 1 &
    - Process Overview.

Step 2 -
    - Requirements.

Step 3 -
    - Info & Planning.

Step 4 -
    - Design.

Step 5 -
    - Prototypes.

Step 6 -
    - Production.


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Process Notes

When to Patent

Patents:  Protecting
   Your Big Idea

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Step 1 - Process Overview

In this work I see a lot of inventors.  I love inventors.  They have great ideas.  They are thinkers . . . . and I like that.  However, after getting the great idea, inventors often have no idea where to go next.  An invention is wonderful, but the idea is not much till it becomes a reality.

I am often asked:  "How do I get my great idea (invention) to market?"   - A great question with a not-so-simple answer.  Creating a new product is more than just making a few parts.  It's a process we call "Product Development".

This article is an attempt to address many of the common questions we've had in conversations about "What should I do next?"

A simplistic map of the process:

The Bright Idea
Idea Step 1 - Identify the "Bright Idea"
Product Requirements
Design Requirements Step 2 - Define the Requirements
info Step 3 - Information & Planning
      (Patent Search, Market Research)
Design Engineering
Elements of Design Step 4 - The Design Phase
The Design Phase
Make a Prototype
Prototype Step 5 -
Prototype Phase - Prototyping
    Next Phase
Prototype Design
Manufacturing and Production
Production Step 6 -
Production Phase - Production


Starting at the Beginning:

The process starts with a great idea and ends, hopefully, with a desirable product in hand.  Morphing the "Bright Idea" into a "Final Product" is a process of thinking through issues & adaptations, working out details, compromises and defining all the specifics -- like how it's made, exact materials, possible failure modes, required regulations, patents and intellectual property protection, etc..

As an illustration of the process, here is an example we'll follow through the process.

The Problem (an Example):
A few years ago I was looking for new stereo speakers.  I visited stores, read articles, books and magazines.  I talked to friends and sales people.  In the end, I was disappointed that the really "good" speakers were very expensive, and the affordable speakers were ... well, "cheap".  I wanted great sound without a mortgage.
The Bright Idea:
Design a high-end speaker that can be made without a paying a fortune.

What then, is the process?

A simplified diagram of the Product Development Process is shown graphically in the figures above.  For more information, select the hyperlink for each step.

Discovering the "Bright Idea" is the first big step -- and it usually occurs without much of a method.  Some typical steps for the rest of the process are discussed on the following pages.  Select a link below or

InventInvention Continue to Step 2


Process Steps: Steps Step 1 - The Bright Idea & Process Overview.
Step 2 - Defining Requirements.
Step 3 - Information & Planning.
Step 4 - The Design Phase.
Step 5 - The Purpose of Prototypes.
Step 6 - Manufacturing Details and Production.
More information: Process Notes - Time, Costs, Considerations.
When to Patent - When and Why.
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