In the first stage of the product development process, we start by identifying true customer needs. These needs can range from minor inconveniences to major pain points for many customers. To understand the scope of the need, gathering metrics, market research and competitor business analysis data are crucial for honing your market strategy and informing your value proposition. To ensure that solutions are optimized for your business goals and target market, we are careful to ask important questions.
This research will greatly influence both your marketing strategy and overall product development strategy, and identify existing products that will be competition, helping you find your niche with a successful product, and excel in commercialization.
For the next stage, it’s time to think both broadly and creatively … letting ideas fly in Brainstorming and Ideation. In this phase, we begin by bringing the development team together for the purpose of divergent thinking and idea generation. Slingshot’s diverse team of engineers, designers, scientists, and strategists work closely with the client’s development team to review market research, identify product success criteria, talk to the right people, and understand who the stakeholders are and what can and can’t change within the company. Success criteria can include factors like relevancy to your target market, manufacturing cost, speed to market, and more. These initial preparations ensure meaningful discussions and ideas are generated. By the day’s end, a typical brainstorming session will have produced perhaps a dozen interesting ideas for further exploration.
Slingshot truly shines in this moment, when the high of a productive brainstorming session has worn off; our clients are tired and daunted by the volume of work ahead. Our project managers take the lead, and together with our development team enter the next stage of the new product development process, “Merge and Selection.” Here, we take all the ideas generated during the brainstorming stage and formulate, refine, and consolidate them into more defined product concepts. This is incredibly important and challenging work, often taking four weeks or more to accomplish this wholistic concept development. This task is where we see most companies struggle if left to do it themselves, but our project managers take the reins, providing the necessary focus and support to manage idea screening and validate feasible product concepts.
Feasibility studies, simple prototypes, and quick tests are crucial for testing your product concept and gathering data to inform future iterations. Thorough concept testing in the early stages of new product design is critical for validating concept viability.
This effort is reviewed together with all stakeholders and evaluated against the product success criteria previously laid out for a successful product, and concludes with a final product direction and roadmap to get to commercialization.
In this phase, Slingshot creates the first tangible representations of the minimum viable product, or MVP. This act of moving from the conceptual realm to the concrete realm is achieved through prototyping. A new product's life cycle will have many twists and turns before it ever hits the shelf; concept development and testing help determine the right path for your product on the roadmap to success.
The ability to rapidly prototype, beta-test, and better evaluate your product design before investing in the physical product is essential for improvement, and it turns out to be cost-effective, too. Slingshot utilizes a process that combines iterative and parallel prototyping methodologies, allowing us to rapidly test a series of smaller ideas, gain insights and improve the product design. Slingshot’s engineering team is thorough, fast, and detail oriented; all traits that are critical for creating a successful product.
Testing at each large prototype iteration is vital, since the feedback received is often more critical than the physical product itself. The repetition, or reproducibility of an experimental result, is fundamental in science. Yet, reproducing experimental results is hard. The complex and chaotic nature of biological and other systems imposes limitations on the replicability of scientific experiments. Slingshot’s team of scientists excel in this moment, creating meaningful and realistic testing protocols, designed to quickly test dozens of samples, and robustly test and validate Alpha and Beta prototypes.
The final stage in a successful product development strategy is focused less on iteration and more on product rollout on a large scale. This is the process of converting your successful prototype from the lab to successfully manufacturing it on a large scale. By this time, your supporting operations and customer and technical support should be ready to roll.
Many of Slingshot’s clients rely on us to facilitate this hand-off to manufacturing and the coordination of a pilot production run. In its most straightforward form, this final step can include refinement and finalization of part CAD for tooling, material selections, review of first shots, and discussion and planning of other important processes like quality assurance and quality control. However, for some products, manufacturing is more complicated and may require the design and implementation of bespoke jigs, machines, or repeatable new manufacturing processes, all of which Slingshot can help facilitate.
From new product ideation to iterative prototyping and product testing, all the way to commercialization, Slingshot’s multi-disciplinary team is passionate about bringing concepts to life.
At Slingshot, we involve experts in each step of the product development process. Slingshot Product Development Group applies a uniquely holistic approach where inventive design meets robust science, technology, and engineering. For each challenge, we assemble purpose-built teams of multidisciplinary experts. And we do it fast, because we know that your time to market directly affects your long-term market presence.
Ready to create your next successful product?
“I have to say that I’m impressed…[Slingshot] reviewed all the background information efficiently, zero’d in all the relevant research, created a great research summary, and drafted a correlation protocol that was exactly what we needed.”
“Slingshot has shown me just how much complexity is involved in taking a new paper product from the laboratory to pilot production. I’m incredibly impressed with the Science & Technology team – they really know how to plan and execute a manufacturing trial.”
“It was a pleasure working with your team and I’ll look forward to working with all of you in the future!"