Frequently asked questions

How can we achieve quicker innovation in a large corporation?

We sometimes get the question how it would be possible to create more and quicker innovation within the context of a large corporation. The problems they face have to do with reporting to management, teams not daring to take risks, slow decision making processes and large budgets being spend on projects that will not make it to the market.

We recommend normally to try to set up a small team. A dedicated teams that acts as a startup. It is possible to create such a team only with people from the company, giving them budget, a separated building, the freedom to report only the absolute minimum to management, and the freedom to take risks and fail early. It is also possible to create a team that is a combination of a few people from the company and a few people from a design firm. The actual development takes place in the premises of the design firm, out of direct sight of the company. Only a few people know about the project.

When you stick to the principle of a small team, free to make mistakes, free to experiment, with a strong mission to solve a problem, with the atmosphere of a startup, innovation will come, at a much quicker rate.

Which strategy works best for your situation depends on a combination of factors. Next time you consider to achieving more and quicker innovation, just give us a call, we are happy to share our experiences with you.

How can I best protect my idea?

Very often we receive the question how great innovation idea's can be protected. The problem companies experience is that somebody else might have the same idea, or worse, might steal the idea. Maybe sometimes great idea's do carry value in them, yet in many cases it is the execution of the idea that will generate the value.

We recommend to share your idea's. It is the only way to test if the idea potentially leads to value. You could use an NDA that can be signed before going into a conversation with companies about the idea. In some cases protection of the idea or invention with a patent could be useful, especially if you have the cash to protect your idea in court and if you intent to sell your idea together with your product or company to a larger corporation in a later stage. Other options you might consider is registering the design or the brand name. Or you might follow a strategy of ongoing development, being a step ahead competition, claiming you are the original.

When you stick to the principle that an idea by itself rarely represents any value, you might get great new insights about your idea when sharing with others. Because it is valuable not to fall in love with an idea and fail early if it is not such a good idea in the first place. When you get reassurance from others that the idea has potential, then investing in design, development and manufacturing of your idea will lead to value. Copies of your product might appear on the market after some time, especially when you are successfully selling the product. The question is how bad that is and if you mainly want to focus on innovating and being ahead of competition, or if your technology is so valuable and needed so much investments that protecting is useful and reasonable.

Which strategy works best for your situation depends of course on a combination of factors. Next time you consider developing a product and you struggle with the right strategy of protection, just give us a call, we are happy to share our experiences with you.

What does it take to start developing our own products?

At Alskar Design we are asked sometimes what it takes to start developing own products if you are running a successful business that is selling products from other brands. Or a business that sells purchased OEM products under your own brand. There are indeed a few problems to tackle when starting developing for the first time. It is really rewarding, but developing requires a different mindset. Product design and development typically is more risky then just branding standard products. It requires more funds both for design and for investments in manufacturing tooling. And potentially it is easy to loose focus and start without a solid strategy.

We recommend that you first start with only one product. Many times we see that companies get enthusiastic and when the first project kicked-off they want immediately to develop the next couple of products. You will need a new mindset. A mindset of creating, instead of selecting an OEM product and re-brand it into your own. Creating takes more time, creating gives freedom to do things differently. But this freedom comes often with a lack of strategy and focus, leading to long projects, high risk and lots of investments made.

When you stick to creating first one product your risk will be limited. You will learn to deal with the new mindset of creation meaningful new solutions for your clients, and it gives you enough possibilities to manage the project successfully, not only the design part, but also into manufacturing, certifications and logistics.

As for how easy it will be to transfer into an innovating and creating company is of course hard to say, it really depends on your former experiences, your team, your resources and risk levels that you are used to take. Next time you consider to develop a product, just drop us a line by email, we will be happy to tell you everything we know.

Do you believe this product will be a success on the market?

Quite often we get the question whether we believe a certain product could be a success on the market. Mainly start up companies ask this question. The problem for a start-up firm is obvious, there is only one product to enter the market first. Maybe a second one will follow soon, yet the large uncertainty of how a first product will do it in the market is making them nervous.

Unfortunately we can never answer this question. We can only say that we see potential, or maybe we do not see so much potential. Yet that is just an opinion, nobody really is able to predict how much people will embrace a new product. Also our experience of running over a hundred projects, seeing some product succeed on the market, seeing other not entering the market and some failing, can in no way help to predict anything about a new product.

Still you can try to limit the risks for yourself and your company. For instance by running user tests in a very early stage, sharing your thoughts with people, by trying to get out of your comfort zone, asking other people then the ones around you that might tell you they like the product because they like you. You can greatly limit the risks and investments if you keep testing with people. Keep iterating your business model, do not think only in terms of selling your product, test also idea's about sharing, renting, leasing or a complete service model where the product is just a tool to render a service to people.

When you stick to the principle of trying to fail early you can greatly limit your risks. And try to find the balance between creating a perfect first product and a 'good enough' situation. Entering the market much earlier with a product that is good enough is mostly wise. It will give you a lot of new input from a larger group of users and will make version 2 much better then you could imagine yourself. And the product or services around it will generate the necessary cash-flow for you.

Which way is the best for you depends on your product. A medical device will most like have a higher risk profile, because it will need more development and needs to be nearly perfect before going into clinical trials. A consumer sports product might have a different profile. It also greatly depends on your network, experience and intended business model. If you consider developing a product and you would like to know more specifically about your situation, just give us a call, we will be happy to tell you everything we know.

Can I afford to hire a design firm?

We understand that companies, both small and large, ask themselves sometimes the question whether they could afford to hire a design firm for a project. The problem here is that a company may be unexperienced with the design process and the reasonable costs that come with it. And let's be honest: it is hard to understand how many hours should be spend on a design and development process to come to the desired result. Hiring a single freelance designer may solve the problem and get a result. Hiring a design team may also solve the problem, and might get a higher quality result.

We recommend to try to estimate the complexity of the job. Sometimes companies hire a junior designer for a job that demands an experienced design team. You could consider working with an unexperienced designer in the case of a simple packaging or a very simple product, which is not strategically important to your business. If the product is more complex and of more strategic value, then hiring a design team is definitely recommendable. The question is not really about if you can afford to do that, but if you can afford not to do so.

Sometimes companies take a short cut to just get some quick sketches and skip the design process. Or go with the inexperienced on a project that is strategically important and complex. Mostly what follows is a bad product launch, costing the company tooling, promotional materials, web services, sales teams, logistics, material purchase. And damage to the brand. An established design firm will not skip the design strategy and development and will not just deliver design sketches. Like a doctor will not skip the diagnostics and just deliver medicine.

When you stick to the principle that you will need experienced design teams for strategically important products for your business, then you will greatly reduce risks and be able to create high quality products. Products that are meaningful and relevant, today and tomorrow.

If you feel that you have trouble understanding the complexity of a design job, whether you would need a single designer or a full design team, you are most welcome to give us a call. We are happy to share our experience and help you further deciding which approach would be best for you.

Answers to design questions

Please send an email or call us to discuss your design question. The process is as follows:

1. send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at +31 20 820 22 11
2. schedule an (online) appointment
3. allow us to create a customized design plan for you without obligations
4. let's execute the plan together

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