Rapid Prototyping & Concurrent Design

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  • 0:00 Need Something Now!
  • 0:42 Rapid Prototyping
  • 1:24 Concurrent Design
  • 2:13 Example
  • 3:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

With technology changing every day, the prototyping and design stages are getting shorter and shorter. Rapid prototyping and concurrent design help companies cope with the reduced time.

Need Something Now!

The needs of individual clients are as varied as the products produced around the world. Some clients may want you to take your time, making sure that you develop a truly timeless product. Other times you have to be much faster than that. This is especially true with a demanding client or when the market is changing so fast that if you snooze, you lose. In this case, you'll want to be able to bring a product or service to the market as quickly as possible.

In this lesson, we'll look at two different techniques that help to make that possible - namely rapid prototyping and concurrent design - along with an example in which both are used to help a company bring a product to market faster than ever.

Rapid Prototyping

Before you enter full production on a product, you very likely want to have a prototype to show off what it can do. This is true even when you are working on a time crunch. The ability to use rapid prototyping, the process by which a model of the final product can quickly be made, is vital. This is one area of planning that has certainly taken off in the past few decades.

Previously, it would require a skilled work team to produce one prototype in a time frame that was far from rapid. Today, 3D printers and computer-aided design programs mean that rapid prototyping can be done in a matter of days or even hours. That means companies are able to produce their proposals in a much more agile way.

Concurrent Design

Of course, even when you are producing rapid prototypes, it's helpful to not have to reinvent the wheel every time. Moreover, being able to have multiple teams working on different aspects of design is a major advantage, because then everything can just be pieced together at the end. This idea of working on multiple aspects of the same design at one time is called concurrent design.

In comparison to rapid prototyping, concurrent design is not really anything new. For example, the concept of building different parts of the whole at the same time was used to great effect during World War II when Liberty ships were built using this method at a rate of one every four days. Put into a more modern context, it means that certain parameters are set for the design of the product as a whole, and different teams work within those parameters on their individual goals.

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