Innovative, market-leading products don’t just ‘happen’, they need effective planning and development which is why following a well-structured new product development process is beneficial.

Although there are several recognised design processes, we’ve developed our own to specifically meet our client’s needs. Our history of challenging, fast turnaround, product, medical device and engineering projects for a broad range of industries, meant we recognised the value of developing a new product swiftly and in a structured way.

“Why bother with a process, isn’t design all about creativity?”

Without doubt design is about creativity but the sparks and ideas generated in the early stages need to be captured, properly assessed and then managed to ensure they are fully exploited and commercialised. Prototype development and engineering also needs to be structured to minimise iterations, ensure designs are robust and that they can be manufactured effectively. Ultimately, it’s vital to control costs and timescales for a project to be successful.

Designers and engineers naturally want to keep generating ideas and continuously improve designs, it’s in their DNA. However, what often isn’t discussed in the design world is that development is part of a commercial process so, making money is the primary driver and what instigates the design / development process in the first place.

Of course, there are many other motives for developing a new product or device such as helping users and patients to have the best experience as possible. However, projects need to be delivered on time and to budget so having an effective process which still affords creativity and fresh thinking is vital to stand any chance of meeting both project and commercial objectives.

Haughton Design's new product and medical device development workflow process

Creating a process that is simple and highly visual brings huge benefits to a project. It makes it simple for all stakeholders to appreciate the work involved and if done correctly, ensures all parties understand their responsibilities together with key milestones and delivery dates to ensure the project’s success.

So, what is Haughton Design’s new product & medical device development process and, how do we ensure it’s clear and efficient for all stakeholders?

All stakeholders involved typically need to know what work needs to be done, who is responsible for the tasks involved, to clearly understand the investment required and when to expect delivery. Using a highly visual and clear process diagram for managing the new product development process is perfect for that!

We’ve taken time out to carefully consider the various new product & medical device development phases, regulatory requirements and standards in the industries we serve, but this can be done by any design team. HD makes its money purely through design, development and engineering so we must do this efficiently to stay in business, we’ve therefore redesigned and honed our process a number of times to suit the sectors we work in – from medical devices through to security and defence.

Product design engineers planning the development process of a new medical device

Affording some time and resource for your own team to review your development process, then to optimise and visualise it is always a worthwhile investment. It’s not easy, but the benefits of improved efficiency over the medium and long term far outweigh the initial investment in sorting a process out.

HD’s workflow was created to enable every project stakeholder, to easily see the process of developing a new product including what needs doing and when. It’s used from our very first client meeting until our involvement in the project is complete. It’s a relatively simple document, which makes a project’s requirements clear with key information in one place.

Our clients quickly understand they can enter or leave at any phase or stage of the new product planning and development process. They can also access just one or two services to complete their projects faster or, work with us on their full product or medical device project from concept to manufacture. The bonus for our own project managers and design team is that such a document makes it just as clear to them!

It enables everyone to work together toward the same, clear, goal. Combining this approach with our ISO systems means we can develop products and medical devices more efficiently, robustly and to the correct standards.

Our general process is broken down into 10 clear stages, within 4 phases. However, no two projects are the same therefore, we create a bespoke Workflow with tailored tasks and deliverables for each project we undertake. Everyone who’s used it loves its simplicity, and the logic it brings to a project:

1. Phase 0: Opportunity Exploration; Identify opportunities and assess basic feasibility whilst risk & investment is low.

2. Phase 1: Rapid Conceptual Research; Generate valuable intellectual property by creating innovative products to keep ahead of your competitors, assessing technical and commercial feasibility before major investment is made.

3. Phase 2: Controlled Design & Development; Develop chosen concepts into detailed designs and prototypes to prove principles and check functionality.

4. Phase 3: Volume Manufacture Transfer; Refine and validate your design to ensure the product is safe, reliable and can be manufactured to the highest quality.

Developing new products and medical devices can be time consuming and expensive. Adopting a suitable workflow and development process will provide a clear structure of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, reduce iterations and minimise design loops.

If you would like a more detailed explanation of our process and the associated tasks involved, download our free guide! Alternatively, get in touch to discuss your new product or medical device development.

Kathryn Godwin - Business Director at Haughton Design Kathryn Arnot 15 June 2022

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Get in Touch with Kathryn Arnot

Business Director

Kathryn runs the operational aspects of the business to ensure the smooth running of the company. Additionally, Kathryn is responsible for commercials, contracts, and legal documentation and will be your point of contact for related discussions.

Kathryn is a Chartered Manager with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, and extensive experience gained from both in-house and consultancy positions.

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