Product Development​

Product Development​


Designing products, including prototyping and test manufacture or making one-off products

Major variations

Designing and making one-off/custom products, versus developing a product that is to be made repeatedly. Consumer products versus industrial products such as designing a machine.

Potential impacts

  • Solving problems that need a bespoke solution
  • Designing products to be manufactured locally will have long term economic benefits
  • Promoting local culture and industry by making all kinds of one-off items like film sets, parade floats
  • Supporting local employment including skilled trades


  • This work is often well suited to those who enjoy makerspaces – it is creative, involves prototyping and technical problem solving


  • Demand can be unpredictable, making it difficult to build a sustainable business around it. 
  • May require a large range of skills & expertise (which is why it can usefully be combined with something like XXX, allowing you to draw on skills available in your community) 
  • Project management and business skills are needed to ensure products can be delivered on time, to budget, and with a profit being made.  

Business model canvas

Key partners

  • Suppliers of materials & components
  • Open source hardware & software communities 
  • Local events, forums, and industry associations
  • Other organisations doing product development – you may join forces or sub-contract each other

Key activities

  • Product design
  • Prototyping
  • Design for manufacture
  • Advertising / Sales

Key resources

  • Creativity
  • Technical expertise
  • Machines & equipment for prototyping or manufacture

Value propositions

  • Creative or unique solutions
  • Convenience of being able to bring multiple skill sets together to create an output
  • Delivery speed may often be a concern
  • You may be able to develop expertise in a particular area e.g. in making a certain type of machinery

Customer relationships

  • Long term relationships which likely involve a degree of co-creation


  • Build relationships with those in the communities you are targeting 
  • Publicise examples and case studies of your previous work

Customer segments

  • People who want help to design a product for large scale production
  • Those who want one-off creations such as film sets, parade floats, or artworks
  • Organizations that have a particular problem that needs a bespoke solution

Cost structure

  • Time
  • Materials & components
  • Machine usage
  • Space where work is done

Revenue streams

  • Fixed fee for a project (or for the product you make)
  • Time & materials fees (charging for the time you spend and other costs incurred)
  • Revenue sharing agreements for products that are to be manufactured in bulk  

Complementary models

Using your expertise to solve problems or deliver outcomes for others​
Creating shared access to a community and/or other assets (space and equipment)​
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