Prototyping. And getting stuff right.

So you reckon you have come up with the biggest innovation since sliced bread and cannot wait to unleash it on the tree climbing world? You want my opinion, for what it is worth, on how to proceed?

That is hard to say, as it really depends on the type of product we are talking about.

But in general I would suggest that you find people that you feel can build a good relationship with and be aware that every time you show your concept to someone, you are potentially giving away something.

My other comment would be to make sure that you have really got it right – or as close to it as possible. This process has to involve prototyping, trial and error and validation in the field.

In the past, we have had discussions revolving around concepts where we were all totally convinced that one thing was going to happen, no question – until we actually tried it, just to realize that reality did not coincide with our intuition – and that in fact it behaved totally differently than expected.

Prototyping is not just fancy concept but crucial to ensuring that concepts translate well into real-world usage…

Take the Captain hooks, for example (wheee, been wanting to write that for a long time…)… these started out looking – and performing – very differently from where they finally ended up. This was thanks to multiple-protoype stages and continuous evaluation and feedback from the field. As you can see from the photo below the dimensions and profiling underwent a number of changes, the attachment point was modified and the rib on the back was also extended and modified.

Had we stuck to the first iteration, the result would be a product with less functionality and versatility.

So in a nutshell… validate, validate, validate, until you have got it right. Even this is not a 100% guarantee that something may not manage to give you the slip, especially when working on novel or different concepts, but it is important that all possible efforts shall be undertaken to prevent foreseeable errors – and then some more beyond that.

This is work at height we are talking about after all, not software development of further installment of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, people will be trusting their life to this equipment and are depending upon the development process having been worked through in a diligent fashion.

So get it right.