Typically when developing new products many assume that we aim to get it right the first time. So its strange when you tell people that we also aim to fail.
"Fail often but most of all fail fast"
Failure often allows you to learn more about a designs performance than if it succeeds. A good example of this is with our very own Tactica One bottle opener.
When we launched the Tactica One campaign on Kickstarter it was important to have a product that worked. We tested the final prototype in the only fashion we could, by opening bottles. This meant finding as many different brands of craft beers and ciders as possible. In all we had tested around 30 different types and results were positive.
During the campaign we continued to test the Tactica One by using it wherever we went. It didn't matter if we were at a function, bbq or at a party. Any opportunity to test it was priceless. So you can imagine our surprise when we found some bottles that couldn't be opened. We had found our first failure.
It was perfect that this happened. Through our testing process we found an area that didn't work and more importantly we found it early. If this occured later there would have been significantly more challenges in trying to retify the issue. We had the opportunity to resolve the issue without impacting timelines or production.
Another interesting insight was into peoples use of the product. Whilst the prototype was used by a number of different users who had not experienced it previously, we found different was in which people interacted with it. More often than not users held the Tactica One high up near the working face (bottle opening edge). This meant that it didn't need to be as long as it was.
So what did all this feedback mean?
The Tactica One was modified in its dimensions as well as in the specific grade of material being used. All of these changes was to increase stiffness whilst improving ergonomics. Again another prototype was made from the intended material and tested. The result was a bottle opener that worked time and time again and was comfortable in the hand. The image below shows the comparison between the old (right) and the new prototype (left)
Currently we are in the middle of tooling for the Tactica One. All the while however, the prototype is constantly being used. Feedback even at this stage is great. The more a prototype can be tested the more genuine feedback can go into the refinement of the product. In short get out to market as soon a possible to test your theories. There is no point in waiting to make it perfect, it never will be. Testing the idea with the market is the final step in getting it ready for the broader launch.