Got a Great Idea? What Now?

| By Editorial Team

How to move from brainstorming to design & development

If an idea falls down in the woods and no one’s around, would anyone even care? No. That’s why you need to turn your idea into reality.

Brainstorming is an integral part of the creative process, but it isn’t the last step of your journey. You can have the brightest idea man has over known, but what good will it serve if it never becomes concrete?

That’s where design and development come into play. Brainstorming sessions give you the opportunity to throw anything and everything at the wall to see what sticks. Once you’ve settled on the one or few ideas that will help you address your challenges, it’s time to shift gears.

It’s time to refine your idea through design and development.

Now that you have your seed, it’s time to find some water and sunlight

Seeds are filled with so much hope and promise. But all of that potential could fall by the wayside if the seed isn’t properly cared for and nurtured. Design and development helps you to nurture your idea, let it grow, while providing it the right support so that it can evolve into the towering tree it wants to be.

Unfortunately, far too many seedlings remain buried underground. Converting ideas into reality is never an easy task. It requires courage, resources, time, and (yes) money to spur action. And far too many people believe that no one will ever understand their ideas as well as themselves, so they go about this journey on their own, embarking on a trek synonymous with Frodo Baggins’ quest to Mordor.

But you don’t – and shouldn’t – go about this on your own.

Build an action team to support your idea

One of the most important steps you can take in refining your idea is to compile a team that can breathe life into abstract concepts. It’s not so much about letting go of your idea, as it is inviting others to the party. The first step toward creating your team of experts is ensuring that your requirements are clearly defined from the get-go. In all likelihood your requirements (and everything else!) may change and evolve, but having a clearly defined roadmap or blueprint will help you and your team not veer too far off course.

Project managers will prove to be one of your biggest assets during this process. Project managers can:

  • Help guide you through design and development
  • Provide support and expertise while you form your action team
  • May be able to serve the role of one of your experts, in addition to helping you manage your project

Your action team should include industry experts, engineers, industrial designers, artists, copywriters and anyone else who can and will contribute to the birth of your idea into reality. As you formulate your team, you should consider drafting and having an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) signed by anyone you work with, to protect your valuable idea.

Now that your brainstorming session is done and over with, it should be easier to focus your group on the one goal in mind: overcoming the obstacle with the idea you’ve come up with.

But what does it take to overcome this obstacle? Well, that depends on your idea and vision. When you come up with a winning idea, you likely should look into potential patents and trademarking. But how comfortable are you within that arena? Likely not very comfortable, which is why it pays to have someone on your action team with a strong background in patents, trademarks, and copyrighting.

Ask yourself what your product will require to produce – think backwards

Building your team should be an effort of backward design. You know what you want the final outcome to be. Work backwards from there to determine what steps are required to make that happen (this can include designs, legalities, distribution, marketing, etc.). For each area where you’re not an expert, this is an opportunity to invite a new member to your action team.

No one person knows it all

As you move towards design and development, there are certain steps you’ll take. For example, to bring a new product from idea to market, you’ll likely require:

  • Sketches for the design (professionally made designs that will be used as the framework for 3D rendering).
  • 3D rendering: 3D rendering is an important part of your product’s life cycle, and will become the foundation for your prototypes, and later, to make molds and tooling for production.
  • Prototypes: These prototypes will be tested extensively, from which new prototypes will be created and perfected, until the final design is functional and ready for product readiness.

Throughout that journey, you’ll run into more questions than answers. For example:

  • Is my product infringing on other patents?
  • How can I protect my product from copyright infringement?
  • What components should I use for my product?
  • What materials should be used?
  • If plastic is required, does it need to be made from good-grade plastic?
  • Does my product have to pass certain safety guidelines and protocols?

No one expects you to have all the answers. A wise man doesn’t know it all – he simply knows where to look. That’s why team building is such an important component of your product’s success. There are experts in the field who not only have the answers to each of those questions above (and more), but they know what actions need to be taken to move your project further along.

From your head to their hands – your action team can make it happen

While it’s often the case that one person alone thinks up a groundbreaking concept, they never embark on the next steps of their journey alone. There’s just too much to consider, and too much at stake, to put it all on one person’s shoulder.

By creating an action team made up of experts in your specific field, you’re taking the most important next step in turning your idea into reality. Rather than losing control of your original concept, you’re actually helping to create a foundation that will allow that concept to grow. Fire isn’t made out of one piece of wood. It takes logs and kindling of all shapes and sizes to make that fire burn brightly.