I know you’ve probably heard this a thousand times from people that have invented a product, but a new product idea often just hits you when you have a problem or challenge that you need or want to solve. The best advice I can give you is to not sit around thinking of new ideas, but be cognizant as you’re moving through life and if you find yourself saying “I wish they made…” or “I wish I had something that did…” then perhaps you are on to something.
After you come up with what you deem a solution to a particular problem or issue, start doing research to see if your idea already exists. If you came up with the idea, then there’s a chance someone else may have the same one. Start by searching the internet. Look at websites that might sell a similar product, see if there are industry associations that have a membership list, and check out industry trade publications to see what product ads are featured and scan the product news pages in the magazine. Be careful not to share your idea with anyone in the beginning. Although you probably have a great circle of friends and family members, I recommend keeping your idea close to the vest for now.
Once you’ve completed your initial search and haven’t found a product that accomplishes what you believe your idea will. The next step in bringing it to life is to identify a product design firm. We were fortunate to find a great firm called Laut Design in Raleigh, North Carolina, located about 20 minutes from our home, which made it very convenient for a lot of face-to-face meetings.
Before sitting down with a firm, have a rough idea what you want your product to look like so it will be easier to convey to the design team. Patience will definitely be necessary during this step in the process. It took three years of design iterations, color selections, and prototyping before landing on a final design for zoodi.
When I look back at the first prototype of our hands-free iPad case and where we ended up with zoodi, it was well worth the wait! The key is to be patient, expect hiccups and bumps, but enjoy the ride!
Next, I’ll share our experience with the manufacturing process. Stay tuned!