In the early years of our inventing-career we made a Jib Crane for building sites, that was supposed to improve the working environment around concrete casting. But the crane never got to market, as we had to call the project off after making a prototype. Here's our learnings from the failed project.
In-situ concrete casting on building sites is a exhausting job, so back in 2012 we tried to improve the working environment surrounding that job with a jib crane.
The traditional working position is hard on the back.
We partnered up with organisation in the industry and contractor in an effort to make a crane, that could handle the vibration-device which removes air from the wet concrete, and for a long time the project looked very promising.
Prototype-testing the Jib Crane on site. The vibration-device isn't handheld anymore - the crane takes care of that.
But after prototype testing on a building site, we had to kill the project, as the solution wasn't the right one.
1) We discovered the concept wasn't strong enough - but too late
We believed our concept was a great solution for a practical problem that was identified in the industry, and the support from relevant organisation and contractors confirmed our believe.
It wasn't until we had a working prototype we discovered, that the concept only solved the problems surrounding working environment. We hadn't been focusing enough on making the process efficient as well.
Had we been aware of this earlier on the process, we might have been able to make a concept that improved efficiency as well as working environment - but at this stage in the development process, it was simply too late.
2) We failed to make it a business
We worked alongside a manufacturer during the project, who was interested in buying the concept, when it was done.
But when the prototype was done 1,5 years later the goodwill disappeared, and they didn't want to buy it afterall.
Instead of relying on goodwill and gentlemen agreements, we should have signed a deal to commit the manufacturer to the project before spending 1,5 years on development.
Learnings in hindsight
Over the years we've started several projects that for some reason never made it to the market, but none of them has been developed as extensively as the Jib Crane before we had to call it off.
The failed Jib Crane has made us way better at evaluating a concept and its potential early on as well as attaching a business model to the concept before the prototype is done.
It's still not all ideas our ideas we successfully turn into a viable business, but killing the project in the ideation-phase is much better business than spending 1,5 years on development.