Proof of concept (POC) is considered to be evidence that a product design, digital app, service concept or business proposal is feasible.
This evidence is typically derived from an experiment or pilot project. Following are more details regarding the creation of this essential preparatory step that must be followed in order to increase the chances of success, before launching a new product or concept.
The process addresses essential questions
You may think you have come up with a great idea. But is it workable? Is it marketable? Will it have the imagined effect on the public? Will consumers be compelled to purchase it?
Proof of concept can provide the answer. The specific methods employed will vary, depending upon the industry. But basically the task analyzes every aspect of the idea, conducts surveys and research, sets up experiments, comes to a conclusion regarding whether the idea will work and is worth pursuing.
Constructing a model
If the idea does seem to hold water, the next step is to either construct a prototype (a working model of the proposed item or process) or to directly present the proof of concept to venture capital firms, angel investors or others who may potentially be interested in participating in the launch of the new product or process. Experienced investors demand at least this step in order to seriously consider investing in a fresh concept.
Who creates proof of concept?
Generally, the individual, group or business who comes up with an original design or idea is tasked with the responsibility of developing a sound proof of concept; ideally one that will leave no doubt the proposed idea will work out.
The developer or a company team
The individual or team who brainstormed the idea is usually assigned to complete the task of developing POC. Sometimes the team consists of a panel of members from various departments, or from other types of companies who specialize in aspects of the project which must be evaluated.
The individual or team identifies the problem, "conducts research and begins to develop the feature with the goal of proving that it's feasible," says the author of this Entrepreneur article on the difference between a POC and the next step, a prototype.
Which Industries Utilize Proof of Concept?
Traditional manufacturers, medical companies, science and engineering corporations are all familiar with proof of concept. It applies also to the development of digital products and processes. New apps and software are continually created to fulfill changing needs of businesses and everyday citizens.
In order to gain financial backing, the originator of the new design must come up with a proof of concept that convinces prospective investors of the validity of the idea and the need, or demand for the finished product.
When Should a POC Be Prepared?
A POC should be started as soon as possible following idea formation
When the thought of a new concept is first sparked, the developer or team should identify specific cases for its use, determine expectations for the new technology. Current performance baselines must be assessed and new performance goals set.
Next, the actual POC process takes place. Metrics are tracked. The results of the analysis are presented to stakeholders in the project. If given the go-ahead, investment goals are set. The POC becomes an active project.
Developers often require outside assistance
Professionals from other fields may be required to assist in the creation and implementation of a precise and convincing proof of concept. A company may not know the right contacts necessary to procure needed assistance. That's where accelerator companies come in. Connecting individuals with other experts in supportive fields can make or break a startup plan.
What are Accelerator Companies?
Businesses now exist that are well-informed about the difficulties of launching new products or startup companies. They act as catalysts for change and prosperity of companies by connecting entrepreneurs with business gurus and promising cooperatives. These organizations connect creators of the next generation of products with those who can help correct issues, develop strategies, launch dreams.
What if a POC Becomes Outdated?
Sometimes a seemingly sound proof of concept takes time to become a reality. Perhaps conditions have evolved since the concept was initially completed. But its basis may still be salable.
The process of iterative design can rework the concept for the current market
But iterative design isn't just for making dated proof of concepts marketable today. How does the process work? It could be referred to as "circular reasoning."
Or perhaps "continual scrutinizing" may be more appropriate. While it's obviously great for updating a product in response to rapidly changing conditions and expectations, as we see in the digital market, it's also a good concept to utilize for every design process. Each time we analyze an object we often notice another way we could improve it.
Examples of iterative design
A wiki website is one example of iterative design. Contributors can analyze and add content continually, improving user experience. It is never completely "finished".
And here is an example from the business world: The Nielsen Norman Group conducted an experiment when redesigning their website which proved that the user-based iterative design process doesn't require an extensive budget, or unacceptably delay a project. With this process, flaws are detected from the beginning, remedied as needed throughout a process of repeat analysis.
Partnering with accelerator companies like C2MBETA can help your project succeed by providing thorough analysis and insight from a team of professionals well versed in many aspects of the startup process from design to marketing, to investment fund procurement. Contact us to book a call and learn more.