Prototyping your idea, design or invention is an essential step in the product design and development process. There are multiple reasons an inventor or entrepreneur would want to create a prototype.
Types of Prototypes
Inventors often understand what prototypes are but lack the understanding of why they need one. To put it simply, a prototype is a basic working model, a mock-up or a simple simulation of your original idea. The purpose of a prototype is to allow for product testing before manufacturing so suitable adjustments can be made.
Prototypes can be anything from ideas written on napkins to advanced 3D models. Depending on what you need the prototype for, there are several methods you can use. Ideally, the first product prototype you create should be a functional model to accurately test the usability and make changes where you see fit.
Prototype to Test a Design
Before you lodge a patent or begin mass production, it may be a good idea to see if your product will work as intended. By creating a product prototype, you can help identify weaknesses in your design so changes can be made accordingly. Prototypes help test the look, feel and form of your product and are an essential part of the product development process.
Prototyping for Product Development
Several prototypes may be necessary if your invention includes mechanisms, moving parts, special materials, or electronics. These components may affect each other, meaning that your product is likely to malfunction or break without testing. By testing the concept many times, you will not only ensure your product is usable, but you will also increase your product user experience and manufacturability.
Prototyping for Venture Capitalists and Investors
To increase the chances of securing investment, reducing the risks of your product is a critical first step. Angel investors and venture capitalists are not likely to consider investing in your product without an effective prototype and evidence of previous testing or reviews. They want to reduce the risks of their investments, and by prototyping your product, you greatly reduce the chance of malfunctions and manufacturing complications.
Prototyping for Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding works great for market validation and traction. Platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo have gained a lot of attention over the years. These sites allow inventors to gain small investments from members of the public that are excited about their idea or concept. By sharing prototypes with your investors, you can demonstrate your commitment to your idea and secure future funding.