It’s been a while since the last series of Dragons Den and although there are the small scale online versions it was refreshing to see them back on Sports Relief last week. While many people dislike them, they do at times reveal both the huge reserve of ideas in the country, but at the same time the need for effective product design.
Among the hopefuls in last week’s special was Michael Killian, the inventor of a sideways bicycle. It was a magnificent machine in its own right, but he hadn’t put much thought into its application. It was a fun idea to be sure, but would it work in the market place? He had no idea, but to be fair he didn’t seem to care.
When asked what his plans were he replied: “I’m going to make bikes and sell them” – brilliant in its simplicity, but not what the Dragons wanted to hear. To the ire of his celebrity backer, Patrick Kielty, they sent him packing.
What this demonstrated what that good product design is not just about forming the idea and making a prototype; it’s about making sure it’s as good as it can possibly be and sufficiently cost-effective to make a profit.
There are plenty of inventors out there labouring in sheds all over the country and that is certainly a good thing. However, without paying attention to the whole process of product design, even the best ideas will remain unfulfilled.
Tags: product design