WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PROTOTYPE AN INVENTION OR IDEA?
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 frequently come across different types of prototypes and their applications but do not clearly understand the real purpose or necessity of the application of the prototype. Quite simply, a prototype is a basic working model, mock-up or a simple simulation of your product that will enable you to to create a minimal viable product to a final product. A prototype can be a working model, 3D printed model, digital, small model or limited usage product. Ideally, your first prototype will be a working model which is functional, so people can get their hands on it and try it out.
PROTOTYPE TO TEST A DESIGN
Testing a design idea is the main reason for building a prototype. Before you patent and manufacture a design it is smart to test it to see if it works as expected. A prototype can more easily highlight weaknesses thereby helping to refine the design, look, feel, form and function required before investing any further in the product.
PROTOTYPING FOR PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
When your idea or invention includes features such as mechanisms, moving parts, special materials and electronics it is necessary to create several development prototypes to test changes in characteristics and experiment with different components and parts. This ensures the final design will work as intended, enhancing the user experience and manufacturability of your product.
PROTOTYPING FOR VENTURE CAPITALISTS AND INVESTORS
Venture capitalists and angels are all about reducing risk and having a validated a working prototype, dramatically reduces investment risks. These days, if you don’t have a proven prototype, investors probably won’t even talk to you. A physical protype that investors can hold the in their hands makes it real to the user and is an effective way to secure investment.
PROTOTYPING FOR CROWDFUNDING
Crowdfunding works great for market validation and traction and platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo have gained a lot of traction in the past few years. What makes crowdfunding so unique is that it involves turning in idea into something real. Your potential backers have to understand your commitment to the project, and having a working physical prototype helps add value to your campaign.