For nearly three decades, I have had the distinct pleasure be a team member for several product development projects. Design, audio contributions, interface perspective (UX), and concept review are just a few portions of areas I have made contributions. For the record, the U.S. R&D labs I have interfaced with contain some of the most intriguing and gifted individuals I know, most of whom won't show up on Time magazine, but have made—and are making—contributions used daily, but rarely recognized.
The nature of any product development process requires the evolution of ideas and clear communication between team members. It also helps to have a working network of experts across many disciplines. Finally, every great idea requires a practical amount of vetting. However, once this process is complete, and the concept still holds merit, the idea now requires champions.
Champions are typically from corporate management who buy into the concept product's worth—not just for the product's target demographic, but also the profitability of the product.
Profitability isn't limited to the margin, however. If a product is truly a game changer, the corporation's brand also gets greatly enhanced.
I provide a range of design, review and development services, and these don't occur in a vacuum... they are based on a considerable amount of thought, questioning and larger-picture dynamics.The greatest product designs go farther than filling a specific niche. They help define the company that produces them, and often become a ubiquitous symbol, if not cultural icon, in the process.
Some simple examples: how many plastic flying discs are simple called "Frisbee®"? How many facial tissues are simply called "Kleenex®"?
The vetting of an idea can be one of the most important processes. As a "beta tester" for companies, I have had the opportunity to kick the tires of an idea through multiple "test drives." Observations along the way lead to a concentration by the development team on how the product is likely to be used in the real world. Further more, these observations and questions yield concrete design revision opportunities that help improve the product, long before public release.