How Do You Identify a Design Partner?

Initiating a venture with the collaboration of design partners can pave the way for swift market entry. These partners, essentially early adopters in the Everett Rogers’ “diffusion of innovation” model, constitute about 15% of the population and are pivotal in the acceptance of new products. Targeting these individuals instead of the mainstream users, who comprise about 70% of the population and are generally not inclined towards innovative products, can be a winning strategy. The early adopters are not only potential buyers but also enthusiastic contributors to the design process to tailor a product that suits their preferences.

  1. Understanding Early Adopters
    • Enthusiastic about trying new things and often take the lead in adopting innovations.
    • Tend to be independent and proactive, unafraid to challenge the status quo.
    • Likely to own the first versions of various products, showcasing a penchant for innovation and a willingness to bear the risks associated with trying unproven solutions.
  2. Identifying a Suitable Partner
    • Instantly grasp the potential of your concept to address an existing issue they face.
    • Can intuitively understand the functioning of a product and its potential applications.
    • Their conversations are largely self-driven, with them suggesting potential uses and modifications for the product.
    • While their input is invaluable, it requires careful consideration as their willingness to invest time and effort in new products is not representative of the general population.
  3. Next Steps in the Partnership
    • Collaborate with multiple early adopters to garner a more rounded understanding of the problem at hand and potential solutions.
    • Focus on identifying common suggestions in their feedback to find valuable insights.
    • Regularly update them on developments to maintain their interest and to source new ideas and inspiration.
    • Successful execution of this partnership can potentially lead to early sales before official market release.
    • Following success with early adopters, the focus can shift to accommodating the mainstream market with additional features, particularly concerning usability and ease of use.

Design partners are the first few users you enlist to help you define your company’s problem space, and they help you shape your solutions as you gear up your product for market.

The above quote comes from, and this post was inspired by

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