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top 5 myths and misconceptions about product development and product design

Debunking the Top 5 Myths of Product Development

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For many of us, the product development journey isn’t an easy one. The conception of a thought into a tangible product you can hold is a long process that demands a lot of time, resources and brainpower. So, the last thing you need is to get swept up in any myths that would cost you time and money. To help you avoid them, we’ve outlined the top 5 myths of product development we’ve encountered over the years.


Myth 1: All you need is an idea

It is undeniable that without the idea, there is no product. However, the ‘all you need is an idea’ mindset over-simplifies the intricacies and graft that goes into producing a useful and well-thought-out product.

This phrase not only glosses over practicalities such as CAD files, prototyping, testing, materials, manufacturing, and so on, but also disregards how an idea and subsequent design evolves throughout the whole process based on its context.

Although it’s a inspiring thought and certainly you do need an idea, it’s important to be prepared for the whole process. A huge amount more work and thought goes into making those revolutionary products than meets the eye.

James Murphy, CEO of HLH Rapid, sits down with Gethin Roberts, managing director of Iterate, to discuss this myth and others in more detail on our podcast ‘Prototype and See.’ Watch the full episode here.


Myth 2: We must stick to the plan

As mentioned in myth 1, markets, trends and products change and evolve, the product development journey is unpredictable and therefore shouldn’t be restricted by rigid plans.

Developers should be aware of ongoing market trends, consumer feedback and product performance based on testing, and be working ‘iteratively’, in order to produce an object that will fulfil its potential. Some in the field opt to do so through rapid prototyping, a manufacturing solution that provides the user with custom parts or products in a matter of days. Prototypes are useful as show models, in testing, and as a tangible, functional model that provides valuable insight into its usability that you just can’t gain from looking at an image.

Having said this, a plan of course is a good idea, just not the kind where no growth is allowed to happen. The key word here is ‘development’, an ongoing evolution of a product before it reaches its final form.


Myth 3: The more features a product has, the better

Everyone can see how easy it is to get swept up with all the possible features you could put on your product, but it’s important to be selective, and not over-complicate your product to where it could hinder the customer experience.

Time and time again, we’ve seen that simple yet effective designs are often winners. Proper trial and error testing and utilising customer feedback through prototypes is the way to avoid over complicating things; the ultimate aim of product development is to create something that a consumer will use and will enjoy using.


product design development team discuss plans for technology device prototype 3D printing


Myth 4: You must manufacture in China

China is renowned for its cost-effective manufacturing capabilities and has therefore been the go-to destination for production in the past, however recent social developments such as Covid and Brexit have thrown this into question.

The pandemic and Brexit threw the logistics of manufacturing in China into uncertainty, causing fluctuation in currency and shipping costs, so it’s worth considering if actually after all, it is the cheapest option.

Having said this, as we move further from these events, costs and currency are stabilising, so China again becomes an attractive option for product developers who are looking to drive down the unit cost of high-volume orders and capitalise on a cost-effective manufacturing solution. It’s not whether you ‘must’ manufacture in China, but whether you ‘should.’


Myth 5: Patents are essential

Patents are a subject that is fully understood by few, but with a big price tag, it’s vital to consider if they are actually worth it for your project. The short answer is, it depends.

You need to ask yourself what your long-term business goals are. Perhaps if it contains technological innovations that provide you with a commercial advantage, it could be worth the investment. You can also use a patent to corner off a section of the market if you can make a claim that is broad enough, that could stop competitors coming even near your product. However, in the time it takes to have a patent granted, you could miss your chance at being the first to market and the invaluable commercial advantage and captive audience that provides you.

Luckily, if you’re still stuck whether you need a patent or not, or even if you are interested in some alternative methods of protecting your invention, we spoke to Ben Chapman, an expert patent attorney at Carpmaels & Ransford, about this dilemma. Listen to the Prototype and See Podcast to learn more.


If you are an aspiring product developer or even one with years of experience, keeping these 5 myths in mind and considering them based on your individual project will help you on your way to success. If you’re curious about rapid prototyping or manufacturing more generally, visit us at or feel free to drop any questions in an email at

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