John Osher and his design team had conceived of a potentially great idea. How did they go about bringing it to life?
The task was accomplished in a series of prototypes. “We first built a ‘bread board’ model. The bread-board prototype must work like the product, but doesn’t have to look like it. It needs to perform the action in question and test fundamental issues, like battery power length. Once we had created an effective bread-board model, we began working on what I call the ‘looks like, works like’ prototype. This prototype need not look completely finished, but should further test the execution of the idea.”
Designing a “looks like, works like” prototype is a great way to discover potential issues and solve problems. For example, the first bristles John used on the brush became pointed sideways after two weeks of use. He then made the brush oscillate, rather than rotate. More bristles were added to increase the effectiveness of the brush.
Don’t think that these changes occurred overnight, or the process came together magically.
“Designing a ‘works like, looks like’ prototype took around a year, probably. There was a time in the middle we were going to quit. It just wasn’t working out. But we continued on. When I look at the Spin Brush today, I laugh at how primitive the first was. But it was an on-going process.”
It’s a good thing he didn’t give up. John has enjoyed the type of lucrative success most inventors can’t even comprehend. And most of it is due to his persistence in demonstrating that the Spin Brush was a desirable product.
“Thankfully, I was able to utilize many of the contacts I had established with the Spin Pop in creating the Spin Brush. But I knew I needed to prove that the product was of benefit. We performed market tests in Meyers stores in Michigan and Ohio – the Spin Brush sold about seven per day. The leading electrical toothbrush at the time sold two a week.”
Osher also ran tests with consumers directly. The brush received the highest customer satisfaction and support, ever. It was this specific type of evidence that eventually led Osher to sign with Proctor and Gamble.
Osher recognizes how lucky he is.
“The whole process went remarkably well. I invested about a million and half dollars across the course of several years. Was it worth the stress? I’d say yes,” he says with a smile.
I’d say so too.
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