Hundreds of hours designers and developing products for various industries and disciplines, have led me to develop a work model of a process for creating concepts for products that the market sees as providing a real response to its needs, and companies and brands see as opportunities for economic development and brand empowerment.The first step in any product development process is the identification of an authentic need of a large market. If such a need is not identified, then there is practically no reason to create any product whatsoever.A need may arise for many reasons, but the need itself must be recognized and analyzed, and its dimensions understood. The market's motivation to it should be identified, as well as the price the market is willing to pay for it.The second step includes marketing, technological and economical research aimed at ascertaining whether companies or brands already exist in the market that meet the said need, and what their response to it is. Know your competitors and outdo them. Master the relevant, current technologies so that you may differentiate yourself and gain priority over your competition. This is the time to consolidate a strong marketing strategy and business plan whose bottom line is: What is the correct product that will guide the on how to market and sell in some future time.The next task on the way to a correct solution is to locate the most appropriate designer for development and design. Finding the right designer is critical since it is he or she who will lead product development, , and structure and will be responsible for designing it so that it suits the needs of the product's target consumers.In addition to the information required for the development stage, I sometimes recommend at this stage that companies locate trend specialists and integrate them into the process. Such specialists can predict the ups and downs of the consumer market at high confidence levels, and will present the company with market trends so as to ensure that their product will be as relevant as possible in the future.After all preparations have been made and the development specifications have been compiled, a comprehensive and target-oriented development plan is required that will include guidelines for all people and resources involved in the development work, the needs required at each stage, the creation of channels between the active entities, a division of responsibilities and tasks, budgets, and general and specific time schedules.PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLANThe model is a way of working together and leading the process in which each person knows what his or her role and responsibilities are, on both the individual and group development levels.
A toy that made a difference, twice.
The double success of the Follow Me Fred dogApproximately ten years ago, while serving as design and innovation director at Tiny Love toy company, I sent several designers a , as at that time we were seeking to expand our infant floor toy category. From our point of view, Fischer Price, which had been market leader for several decades, was our main competitor on the infant toy shelves of the international chain stores, along with several other brands.I received dozens of ideas and sketches of toys from the designers, but was especially caught on a sketch that came from Daniel Kisch's design studio. It was of a small, cute puppy that rolled around on four wheels.Kisch later told me that he was inspired by Toy Story's Slinky Dog, a Dachshund toy that is popular in the United States. His, however, had a twist: instead of the metal slinky that connects the dog's front and hindquarters, Kisch designed an accordion-like middle part that enables the dog to twist its body and move in a circular path.We experimented with all kinds of ideas to enhance the cute puppy … we gave it ears with crinkly paper inside, a spring-like tail that the infant can play with, added buttons on its legs, and tried out some other ideas that aimed to increase the toy's consumer value.But we were still not completely satisfied with the concept. There were so many other toy dogs on the market…At one point, I was asked about the advantage and uniqueness of the toy. I answered that it is a smart dog that responds to the infant and encourages it to crawl better than any other toy.We therefore designed a mechanism that would make sure the puppy would not wander too far away from the infant (a situation that might, psychologically, frustrate the infant, causing her or him to abandon the toy). In addition, we added a feature whereby if there is no contact between the infant and the toy puppy for a couple of seconds, the puppy barks a couple times, beckoning the infant to re-engage.After adding the value of motion and communication between the toy puppy and the infant, all of our sales and marketing personnel changed their opinions 180 degrees. They were suddenly aware of a solution to a real, important need, especially one felt by parents. This toy puppy actually encourages the infant to "get a on".I also mentioned that the accordion-like middle part will be adjustable, so that the toy puppy will be able to move around the infant in circles without moving away from him or her at all. This property was also perceived as adding value to the product.From my perspective, we succeeded in that we created a product with a complete and authentic concept that encourages crawling. The toy's sales attest to that success.