Approach: The Journey is the Destination
Since digitalization projects usually involve more uncertainty than normal product developments, it makes sense to take an iterative approach and get potential users and customers, both internal and external, on board early for feedback. If you have not already discussed the concept with them on paper, then selected users should give their feedback on the solution in these next phases if possible.
Rapid Prototype made tangible
The first thing we recommend is the construction of rapid prototypes. There are two types of these, first those that serve to verify the technology, i.e. minimize the technological risks. Then those that serve to show users what to expect. To make the product and service tangible, also for stakeholders and decision-makers within the organization.This can be a very simple paper and cardboard simulation or use more sophisticated tools.
The point is to test the biggest (market-)risks with the least amount of effort and then adapt the solution to the results of the tests.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
In the next phase, the product is developed as an MVP. This means that it contains the most important functions that generate benefits. The point is to get feedback from the market, from the practical application. Then the next version can be adapted and improved. The most important thing in defining an MVP is not the list of what it can do, but the exclusion list of what it cannot (yet) do.
Modern additive manufacturing methods often allow to produce first series directly from drawings without tooling costs and also to adapt them quickly. "Quick" is the key word here: it's about seeing what works, quickly analyzing what would be better, and then deciding and quickly implementing a new solution.