FAQ and answers regarding our innovation, development and prototyping activities
Making a well-functioning prototype for a successful innovation is an intensive process that involves a lot. It’s all about trust, working together intensively, overcoming challenges and thinking off the beaten track. The innovation and development process consists of four components or if you want phases: Ideation, Specification, Prototyping and Manufacturing (for hardware) or Implementation (for software / service)..
On this page we have collected a number of questions that have been frequently asked of us in recent years(FAQ),with the answers to them. Feel free to take a closer look at our activities and the value we can give to your innovation idea and ambition.
How much does it cost to develop a prototype?
We cannot give a specific answer to this open question. After all, is it just software or does electronics have to be developed? And if so, does there be anything mechanical involved? What is the complexity? Is there any research to be done? Because these types of characteristics are very decisive for price formation, a telephone intake is an ideal way to start. In simple questions, you can sometimes immediately consider the order of magnitude to be considered as a client. For example, we carry out prototyping assignments from €1,000 to around €50K. Want to know what your idea will cost in an approximate functionally working prototype: Let’s talk
Who are you developing prototypes for?
Our clients range from freelancers who have a product or service idea, innovative Startups and SMEs who ask us to turn their ideas into a promising prototype and Corporates with e.g. innovation managers who want to give hands and feet to their (radical) innovations. In addition, we work for and with (technical) education and also (regional) government. In other words, small and larger organisations, the market sector and non-profit. And what makes us relatively unique is that we have chosen not an industry specialization, but a process specialization. We focus exclusively on Ideation, Specification and Prototyping and we do this for almost all industries and many different types of organizations.
What makes you unique?
We have 3 Unique Selling Points:
- We specialize in developing functionally working prototypes that can consist of mechanics, electronics and software
- Because we have the 3 different disciplines in-house for an innovative product and/or service, we offer a one stop shop concept: 1 party, one appeal point and we realize all three parts
- We involve a client intensively in the execution of the assignment by applying co-creation forms of work; only then will a development budget be used effectively for innovation
We are a startup and are still looking for funding for our idea; Do you fund it?
The very short answer is no.
The longer answer has nuance. For a number of Starthubs (Starthub Wageningen and Utrecht.Inc) we play an expert role. Startups that are included in one of those two get free consultancy from us in a premature stage of their ideas (we only ask for publicity in return). We sometimes finance a tiny bit of this, especially since one of our partners sometimes participates. Furthermore, we feel a special commitment to certain socially relevant projects, e.g. in the field of the environment. For this we sometimes exceptionally use attractive conditions to carry out prototyping work. The criteria for this are informal and are determined by Manfred van der Voort personally. For technical education, we use a reduced rate to contribute to technology for the future. Finally, we get quite a lot of requests, in which we sometimes act as a referral to parties in our network.
In short, we are certainly not a financing institution for innovations, but are helpful to where possible among other things to small-scale initiatives for a better world, without an invoice being sent directly.
What kind of software do you develop exactly?
We develop software for Embedded applications, Cloud/Web applications, mobile apps and AI applications. The programming languages we apply the most are:
We apply a lot of (commercial) Open Source software, with the underlying idea that especially in the Prototyping phase the available budget are used effectively and is not unnecessarily used for (long-term) software licenses of the more closed tehnology players.
What’s your field of work?
What about Intelectual Property (IP) and any Patents of an Invention ?
We always leave the possible IP of inventions to our clients. We’re not interested in that either. Our business model is very simple: we want to see our hours and used resources for developing a functional prototype honoured. Nothing more and nothing less. In order to establish this legally, a (sometimes mutual) NDA is concluded in many assignments and we establish the ownership of IP in the contract of assignment. This has not only become a matter of trust, but has also secured it with (sometimes) firm penalty clauses if we do not comply.
Can you also verify whether there is a possible patent infringement with my invention?
The very short answer is no, we do not (yet) do so ourselves.
The longer answer has nuance. We are not able enough to conduct patent investigations. However, we are in the process of implementing and offering an AI-based search service. This is currently being tested and is expected to become available in 2021 if the results are satisfactory.
We also have a partner who can do this traditionally, cost-effectively and with limited depth. This partner then has a good relationship with an agency specializing in Patents, Trademarks and Design Registrations (VO). In this way, we help answer this specialist question by also enabling our network. The cost of answering this question thoroughly can be up to thousands of euros when the agency is called in!
Should an assignment always consist of the parts mechanics, electronics and software?
The simple answer is: no, definitely not. Of course, as it is a Unique Selling Point of ours to offer a one stop concept, it does not mean that every assignment also has to consist of parts for mechanics, electronics and software. Of course, we also carry out prototyping assignments in one of the 3 sub-areas, where software development alone is the largest part of our activities. Then comes electronics and then mechanics.
What exactly is prototyping for you?
For us, prototyping is for us in a general sense to materialize an idea, invention, innovation or business desire for innovation of products, services or processes in the field of technology. The essence is to turn what is entrusted to paper, is on the whiteboard or has been wandering around in the head for some time to turn into something that ‘does it’ but doesn’t have to be perfect yet. In other words, our effort should result in what we call functional, works with frayed edges and unevenness, but that shows in practice what the uniqueness of innovation is.
What exactly can you do; what do you specialize in?
Expressed in “bullets” by field, we know the following specialties:
- Limited complexity
- Digital design and development
- Collaboration with Fluctus for complex projects
- Average complexity
- IoT and sensory applications
- RF approved modules for LoRaWAN
- Reinforced with custom electronics
- IoT platform specialist with end2end app solution
Are you cheaper than…….?
We see it a little differently. Compared to other (larger) engineering firms, product development studios, design houses, etc we are not so much cheaper, but for the same budget you can make a pivot 1 or 2 times more often with us. This means that where you use your entire innovation budget at another party’s time, you can significantly increase your chances of success for market introduction. After all, we all know that developing a new product or service almost always leads to a major revision of plans and thus a prototype. So we are not so much cheaper, but able to increase your chances of success!
You’re Protoypers, are you just doing 3D Printing?
How long does it take for a prototype to be developed?
This depends very much on the size, complexity, desired and necessary cooperation, delivery time of (electronic) components and the ability of employees. Lead times for small assignments (up to ~€7.5K) can be achieved in 4-8 weeks. For larger assignments, 6 months is very common, but for e.g. we also participate in a European research project with a lead time of 3.5 years. Please submit your question to us and we can give an indication of our experience quite quickly.
Let’s say a developed prototype is a success; What do you do next for scaling it up?
Are you working at a fixed price to develop my prototype?
For us, a definition of innovation is: “you don’t know what you don’t know“. Therefore, it is very difficult to set a fixed price in advance in order to realize a project. At the same time, of course, we know that clients must be able to steer on a certain maximum budget for an innovative development. That’s why we work with budgets per project phase, for that reason, but that is sometimes delineated according to the principle of “functional result follows available budget”. So just like time boxes in project management, there is a lot of focus on limiting time and result.
In addition to fixed budgets, we also work with minus/max and post-calculation. Many clients experience a natural tendency for us to “over selling”, i.e. deliver more than agreed.
Meer weten over wat wij voor jou kunnen doen?
Whitepaper “the art of Prototyping” by ICR3ATE
You’ve probably had an innovative idea where you thought, ‘this will allow me to conquer the world!’. Perhaps you have noticed that when you explain such an idea to someone else, one often understands part of your story. Many people find it difficult to imagine a new idea.
By making such an idea tangible, it is easier to take others with your idea. That’s exactly what we mean by prototyping: materializing your innovative idea. In this white paper you can read from what perspective ICR3ATE does this and why that is important. You can also read about the factors that make for a successful prototype and we share some examples of prototypes that we have created for our clients.