Use of design in early stages
It may prove highly beneficial to include the design dimension at an early stage in a development process. This is the case even if the product is highly technological and the challenges consist mainly of achieving technical performance.
If included, stakeholders - e.g. users, buyers, service technicians or others - may be able to offer valuable input for use in the development process. To many of these stakeholders, product imaging and simple explanations of how the product functions is much more valuable information than complex descriptions of the product structure and technical descriptions.
Having an industrial designer help create early suggestions for the product’s form and use may help ease what is often a difficult communication task. Laboratory models, functional models or prototypes are often influenced by an attempt to overcome all the technical barriers and achieve a satisfactory performance level. As important as this may be, many decision-makers are interested in seeing how the product is going to look, or perhaps merely how it could look, how it will work in practise, how it is maintained, etc.
In the case of technology or knowledge-developing start-up companies, visualisation of a potential future product or potential use of a future product may help describe the product to those stakeholders who, e.g. do not have particular knowledge about product development, or do not possess adequate powers of imagination.