Thanks to the culture of progress and the force of competition, customers expect businesses to rapidly iterate their products. It is now imperative that businesses shorten their product development cycle. Sticking with exactly the same line year after year just isn’t a possibility in a world of profound change. You have to move with the times.
Part of that process involves massively shortening your product development lifecycle. Updating your offering every ten years or so simply isn’t possible anymore.
Perhaps the best example of the importance of regular updates comes from the automotive industry. When Tesla released the Model S in 2012, it caught premium European carmakers off guard. Before the electric car launched, many brands assumed that they could use the same platform for a couple of decades before updating. They would change the design of the chassis or some of the components. But the fundamental system they used would be consistent to keep costs low.
But when Tesla released its first mass-market vehicle, legacy automakers soon realized that a fixed model just wasn’t viable. They had to adjust to the times.
The problem is that speeding up the product development cycle isn’t easy. It takes careful thought and planning. And it requires a certain level of openness to complexity.
So what can you do to massively shorten your product lifecycle? Check out these ideas.
Use Generative Learning Tools in the Product Development Cycle
Generative learning tools are perhaps the most interesting and practical thing to come out of AI advances in the last five years.
The idea is pretty simple in concept. You’re essentially getting the software to “evolve” solutions on a computer that you can then put into production reality.
We’re already seeing this approach in building widgets. Let’s say that you want to make the strongest metal joist possible using the least material for your construction project. In the past, engineers would choose simplified designs that they knew for sure met the engineering requirements of the building.
But with generative learning, you can get a computer to play around with the shape, dimensions, and internal structure in millions of ways. You can then leave it running for a couple of weeks to “discover” the optimal design – a little bit like how evolution works over millions of years.
Use 3D Printing Prototyping as Part of the Product Development Cycle
Related to this is the idea of 3D printing prototyping, perhaps one of the most important new technologies in the industrial manufacturing space. Previously, it would have been difficult to test products developed by generative design. But as you’ll learn if you click here, it’s become much easier.
Here’s the crux of the matter: 3D printing eliminates the cost of complexity. You’re able to test multiple product designs without having to buy expensive equipment or molds. It just comes out the way that it appears in the software.
This reality means that it’s now easier than ever to physically represent your prototypes before they go into production. You can test dozens of units, without having to make decisions based on your intuition for which is best.
Shortening your product development lifecycle will ultimately make your enterprise more competitive. And that’s a good thing during a pandemic.
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[avatar user=”mike” size=”thumbnail” align=”” link=”file”]Mike Gaudreau is the owner of The Wealthy Boomers, a site devoted to helping seniors make money online. Mike resides in Montreal Canada.[/avatar]
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