The Product Development Cycle

Growing up surrounded by Product Designers and Engineers who used The Product Development Cycle, I understood that when an inventor had an idea it would have to go through a process before it could be successfully produced. Once I started helping inventors, it became clear to me that this cycle was not common knowledge. In fact, I found that people often associated the design cycle with strictly obtaining a patent and securing a marketing group. Although this expensive method can achieve results, the product idea still has to be developed by someone before it is put on a shelf.

Your chances of success increase if you approach investors or a licensee with a Working Prototype, better yet, a finished product! Have you ever wondered how companies develop all the products that you see in the marts, depots, and malls? Search the web for “Product Engineering Jobs” and you will get a better understanding of what I'm talking about, and of what these companies are doing differently than the average inventor.

The point to be made is that an invention requires more than a patent lawyer and a marketer. An invention is the result of a process. All parts of the design cycle are important, so the first thing I do with inventors is go over the Product Design Cycle to determine exactly where they need to begin. This varies depending on whether they already have a patent, a prototype, etc.

The following list is the basic PDC I have used to move many types of items, such as cleaning products, food trays, sporting goods, and medical equipment from conception to production. The core of this site is based on the List below, with many details added to each page so that you can find something valuable for yourself.

The Product Development Cycle

  1. The Idea
    1. Record It
    2. Protect It
    3. Research It

  2. Concept
    1. Brainstorm
    2. Product Definition
    3. Concept Drawings

  3. Design and Development
    1. 3D CAD Modeling
    2. Component Selection
    3. Ergonomics

  4. Prototypes
    1. Rapid Prototypes
    2. Working Prototypes
    3. Virtual Prototypes

  5. Testing
    1. Focus Groups
    2. Specifications
    3. Redesign

  6. Marketing
    1. Protection/Patents
    2. Trade Shows
    3. Start Your Own Business

  7. Tooling
    1. Injection Molding
    2. Sheet Metal
    3. Stamping

  8. Manufacturing
    1. Contract
    2. Packaging
    3. Fixtures

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