Creative Product Development and Design 101

Product design and development is a core part of the…

Product design and development is a core part of the production process in any industry. One thing no company wants is to build something that is already available. So they need to always be thinking of innovative ways to differentiate themselves.

This article outlines all the core aspects of product development and design.

A pen placed in between the pages of a book with sketches
Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

What Is Product Development and Design?

Product design and development refers to the process of spotting an opportunity in the market. It doesn’t end there. The process also requires you to define the problem clearly and develop an appropriate solution. Subsequently, the suggested solution is validated with real users.

Some experts distinguish between product development and product design, noting that product design is a part of the larger product development process. 

Product design is about how that product is designed and built. Therefore, it is a tactic for the larger product development process. Understanding this distinction will help you make sense of the product development and design process. 

There are a few core aspects of product design and development. The objective of the product design and development process is to attain a certain goal. It should have a target audience in mind.

The target audience would be the users, and it should have a clear purpose for their needs. This may differ from why you started the product development and design process.

The Difference Between Product Development and Product Management?

Product development and product management are similar concepts that often confuse many. This section analyzes both concepts for us to understand them better.

The product management role is pivotal and involves a product’s entire life cycle. It involves every aspect of the product, including planning, production, and marketing.

Therefore, the job of a product manager or product management team includes customer and market research. This is to ensure that the product meets users’ needs. Product managers don’t focus on the product itself. Their focus is on the product roadmap.

Conversely, product development refers to all activities geared towards getting an idea from concept to the consumers. 

The product management team passes on the product specification to the product development team. The product development team works its magic and turns the specifications into a working product that meets the organization’s quality standards. 

In a nutshell, product management deals with the ‘what’ aspect of products, while product development deals with the ‘how’ aspect. The two teams collaborate to make the ideal product.

The Stages of Product Development and Design

Like every model that works, there are various processes involved in developing and designing products that work. This process varies by industry and product. However, a few steps are common to all products, irrespective of the industry. 

1. Ideation

This is the initial stage of product development. It begins with discovering and identifying a market and the product opportunity. This is where an idea is generated and brainstormed. It is really just scrapped ideas and thoughts from different perspectives. Your new product’s creative and sometimes original concept will start to take shape at the ideation.

2. Research

Your “genius” idea is often not enough to create a successful business and product. You have to conduct competitor research to understand whether others are already making that product or a similar product. 

Use the research and analysis to decide what you’ll do in the planning stage. It will help you discover the trend in your industry. Once the idea is fully figured out, you can assess the market opportunities and improve your product.

3. Planning

You begin to see your idea coming to life at the planning stage. You have done your analysis and now have a clearer picture of what you want to do. This stage allows you to map out the strategies to accomplish it. You can easily plan your product around an unsolved problem in the market. This way, you have a niche market to appeal to despite the availability of other products.

4. Prototype Manufacturing

This is the stage where a prototype is made and sent to the design and testing team for market readiness assessment. This is also the stage to get external feedback on the prototype.

The goal at this stage is to make incremental refinements to the product with constant qualitative feedback before the prototype is finalized. Once the final prototype is approved, this stage ends.

5. Design and Testing

This is the stage when the prototype goes through the rigorous phase of designing and testing. The design and testing stage helps you develop the best version of the product before launching. 

Oftentimes, companies will use a Las Vegas approach to testing and design. That is, they keep changing the prototype until they are completely happy with it. Then they will try to be first in the market and go live with that version.

6. Product Introduction and Commercialization

At this stage, you launch your product into the market. Before launching a final product, a lot of work goes into product development.

Irrespective of the product, there’s a level of hard work done behind the scene to make it a success in the market. The entire process of developing any product is known as the product development cycle.


This article explored the aim of product design and development. It also explores some key differences and methodologies between product development and product management and details the stages of product development. It opens with a strong emphasis on understanding the value of design and what that means for the product development process.

If you struggle to figure it out, remember that every product that came before yours had to overcome the same challenges. As long as you apply these steps, it sets you up for a successful final product.

Frequently asked questions

What are the 7 stages in the new product development process?

  • Stage 2: Idea Screening
  • Stage 1: Idea Generation
  • At stage 3: Concept Development and Testing.
  • In Stage 7: Market Entry/Commercialization.
  • The 4th stage is Market Strategy and Business Analysis.
  • Stage 6: Deployment
  • Stage 5: Product Development

What is product development example?

Examples of product development strategies. This adds value to your customers, who may buy your new product even though they have the current version. This can be seen in Apple as an example.

What are the 5 stages of product development?

For small businesses, five phases guide their new product development process: idea generation, screening, concept development, product development, and finally commercialization.

What is the first stage of any product development?

1. The Idea Generation stage or phase of Product Development, commonly known as “Ideation,” is when new product concepts arise. This step is often a result of an idea screening to select the next product effort, and is more clearly defined as a new product development step.

What are the principles of product development?

  • Product development is based on the following 5 principles.
  • 6 Scalability
  • 5 Advanced testing
  • 2 Practicality
  • 3 Having a vision
  • 4 Simplicity

What is product design and development?

Product design defines the process of creating, redesigning, and iterating products that address users’ needs in a given market or solve users’ problems. When developing a product, it’s essential to understand the users, the person behind it.

What is product development strategy?

Developing a product strategy involves conducting an extensive market research, thorough testing, and careful product concept planning to introduce a new product into an existing or new market. A product can also be expanded into a new market.

What are the steps in product design?

  • Compiling Specifications
  • Taking part in User Research.
  • The Factory Samples
  • Sample Testing
  • Prototyping
  • Sketching
  • Brainstorming
  • Defining the Product

What are the 3 levels of product design?

Three levels are available: Core Product, Actual Product and Augmented Product.

What is the most important phase in product process?

Research and testing are the most important step in the release process of new product. The idea of developing a product may seem smart at first, but a closer look will reveal major weaknesses. It is possible, for instance, that another company tried to release a similar product with disappointing results.

What are the 4 main parts of the product mix?

Product mix, also known as product assortment, refers to the total number of product varieties that a company offers to its customers. A company’s product mix depends on four dimensions: width, length, depth, and consistency.

What is the product development life cycle?

Product development life cycle (PDLC) is a way to describe all stages of a product’s development. A cycle often consists of four or five stages: (New Product Development), Introduction, Growth, maturity, and Distress.

Creative Product Development and Design 101

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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