Test key for an innovative idea to become a successful medical device
Formulating an innovative idea is only the first step in creating a successful business product. Design and engineering teams make countless decisions when bringing the idea to life. Testing gives these teams an objective way to assess progress and improve the design at every stage of development.
Creating a successful commercial product is a difficult undertaking. It requires marketing knowledge, design creativity, and technical expertise. Whether a team is developing a complex laboratory instrument, a new medical device, or an innovative consumer product, the effort is a dynamic process that requires the team to make a thousand decisions (or more!) as they work to implement the product on the market. . How can a team ensure that all of these decisions result in a product that will excite customers and create a profitable business? Targeted testing at every stage of development is key.
Different types of testing are needed at each stage of development. These tests serve as objective “gateways” to the next stage of development. It’s important to learn from each test and resolve important issues before moving on to the next step. From early R&D to first working prototypes and then initial manufacturing, here are four types of testing to help you turn your innovative idea into commercial success.
1. User testing
Creating an attractive product requires a true understanding of user needs. Start by surveying users to better understand unmet needs and priorities. Perform early user testing with simple concept mockups to learn user preferences and perceptions. Experiment with more polished mockups to assess product form, user interactions, and feature options. Perform user testing with basic working prototypes to confirm that the product is easy to use and does its job well before proceeding with full product development. By improving product design through learnings from each test, you can be sure that your product will delight customers.
2. Core Technology Test
Instruments, devices and other innovative products are often based on a new basic technology. Some combine existing technologies in a unique way, while others require the invention of new technology. Before committing to a specific core technology, it is important to thoroughly test the technology to determine if it is as functional and effective as expected. Recommended testing typically includes functional performance, reliability, and user testing. Commercial success often hinges on the core technology. Identified issues need to be resolved by the team to ensure the technology meets user needs and is ready for product development.
3. Engineering tests
Equipment and device designs are often made up of dozens, or even hundreds, of individual mechanical components. Printed circuit board assemblies can have a similar number of electronic components and copper traces. Software can contain thousands of lines of code. All of these components, circuits, and lines of code must combine to form a cohesive system. Initial prototype engineering testing is used to ensure that the engineering product design is easy to assemble and performs as intended. Given the complexity of the job, it is common to identify the necessary design changes. Making these improvements before going into production is essential to avoid costly redesign work and reduce time to market.
4. Verification test
Profits will suffer if a new product cannot be produced efficiently at scale. Efficient manufacturing requires a product that has been designed to be easy to manufacture and assemble, as well as a competent manufacturer and suppliers. While product prototypes are usually made by hand and can be reworked and adjusted to make them work properly, production units are built automatically. Verification testing is used to determine if products built on the manufacturing line meet the aesthetic and functional requirements expected of the product. Identifying and resolving manufacturing issues before scaling up to full production quantities avoids costly scrapping or rework of production units, or worse, shipping defective products to customers.
Developing an innovative product is a challenge. Performing targeted testing at each stage of development and resolving issues before moving to the next stage is the key to turning an innovative idea into a successful commercial product.