An increasingly accessible one and an incredibly powerful tool are video. To create an effective video sell sheet do you need a perfect works-like-looks-like prototype? No, significantly not. Video is so versatile, so it is powerful in part. You can make your prototype look better on camera than it does in front of you, when you shoot it from the right angle. Also you can easily obscure small defects. And, your prototype just needs to work right once on camera or even not at all. That is the beauty of editing. I could continue. My point is, an excellent opportunity to get creative is shooting your video sell sheet and so is prototyping.
I am a big advocate of licensing to bring simple product ideas to market today. On prototyping until you have tested the market first, I do not believe in spending a lot of money, or even much money at all. Basically, licensing is a numbers game and by extension inventing. To design a works-like-looks-like prototype of all of your ideas you cannot afford. On many different projects, you need to be able to work and to Ad Inferno .
Anyway, your prototype is never what you are selling.
How your concept looks will be different throughout its development, usually many times over. However, the advantages of your concept never will. The prototypes you design are just as helpful as they express the advantages of your idea. Obviously, some ideas require proof of concept. You will be still served by getting crafty very well.
Most of my prototypes out of paper were built in the past. Paper is a forgiving, cheap medium. Before it was a natural fit, I studied sculpture at San Jose State and taught myself how to design my own patterns. However that was then. So I have asked my team of inventRight coaches, who are in the trenches daily, actively trying to license their ideas. (Full disclosure: They were all my students first.)
To see what is out there that takes you part of the way.
To look to existing products first was their first piece of advice. To stitch together components of different products to cannibalize can you do it, or, according to of OXO president Alex Lee, to ‘Frankenstein’ a physical prototype?
Amy Jo Brogan, inventRight coach, will dug through “everything you can think of” that dispenses liquids at stores near her home, including the dollar store, TJ Maxx, her local grocer and so on if she set out to invent a legitimately spill-proof coffee tumbler. On a rigid container, she cut valves out of existing products and tested them at home , eventally designing about 5 different prototypes before settling on the direction she wanted to go in. Brogan added “Everything was looked at. Valves vary in size, and size affects strength. It was not only the valve I had to figure out. It would leak if I cut a hole in the lid. Thus, I did have to test quite a few adhesive glues as well. It was a constant work in progress.” At the International Home + Housewares Show earlier this year, Brogan’s spill-proof coffee mug made its debut.
To conform to established standards, do not buck them.
To develop prototype at home of David Fedewa, inventRight coach, he used materials. He would have defined his parameters if he has set out to devise a way of keeping a can of beer colder for longer. He explained “I would like that last sip to taste only as the first.” To stay colder the can needed for about 20 to 30 minutes that is equivalent the amount of time most people take to down a beer. The product may not fit standard cup holders, so he knew he did not want to invent anything that would definitely grow the circumference of can. Then a cupcake tin was taken, one cup partly with water was filled, a can of beer was pushed on top of it, and the water in place was frozen, designing a can-sized was frozen disk. To test his hypothesis the disk was used. Would be a can colder longer kept? Yes, of course. He used 2 prototypes to create his video sell sheet: A works-like and a looks-like prototype. The impression of a finished product was given by swapping shots in and out. Corkcicle licensed his innovation, Artican, from him in 2013.
It is endless in prototyping materials and resources.
But as Howie Busch inventRight coach what if you are not handy at all? Howie sought out help when he made a decision to invent a new kind of travel pillow. Before he brought his materials and a 3D rendering of his concept to his tailor, he purchased supplies at Michaels, Jo-Anns, and Walmart. He had inexpensive samples in hand a few days later. The leading travel pillow and travel accessory company in 2014, Busch licensed his travel pillow innovation to SNI/Cloudz. He said that he is hired freelancers online, usually with a few hundred dollars to prototype other ideas that required more engineering.
A couple of Terry O’Mara’s favorite materials, inventRight coach, to work with when he is fleshing out an idea for prototyping are Sculpey clay, a bake-able polymer clay, and prototyping plastic like Thermoplastic Polyurethane pellets. In terms of malleability, both of them give him a lot of flexibility.
Computer rendering and video play well together.
To beat 3D computer renderings as far as prototypes go so hard. They have only gotten so affordable. Now when they can order your product, to create a rendering that looks so lifelike people will wonder you can hire someone in several hours. Even your rendering can be inserted into your video. Do not forget, if it comes to video, there is really unlimit as to how far you can mix and match what is real and what is still theoretical.
Should you build a prototype that looks like the real deal? Of course. That will be always a plus. However, does it so necessary? Not really. Prototyping should not cost you an arm and a leg. For procrastination, it is not a valid excuse, either. Your prototype is not finished when you are waiting to contact potential licensees. Your valuable time are wasted. The market is always subject to be different. As they present themselves, you need to capitalize on opportunities. Do not let yourself be hamstrung by fear.