During each of the stages of the design process, I strongly suggest that you get involved as much as possible as your role within the process does not stop simply after you have the idea. With your involvement, you should also understand the importance of the meetings that will occur during the phases of the process and their significance not only to you but for the designer (manufacturer, etc.) as well.
In the design phase, it is important for the designer to capture the design exactly as you envision it. Meetings, therefore, allow you the opportunity to discuss your ideas or vision as well as monitor the progress of the design. Does the designer understand the product? Is the designer following your thoughts on the form, fit and function of the product? The more detailed descriptions that you can provide to the designer in the early stages of the process (and even throughout), the better, as it will save you from potential confusion, which costs time and money, both of which are vital to the invention process.
Just because your designer is highly qualified does not mean that he or she can read your mind. As wonderful as that may be, it simply is not the case.
If you leave the design up to the designer, you may not necessarily get the product that you expected. Therefore, it is always important to remember that everyone thinks differently. With this, you must also always remember that there is often more than one way to do or accomplish something.
If communication about your idea or product failed between you and your designer, perhaps the designer’s version or interpretation of your product did not turn out the way that you anticipated. If this is the case and you are unhappy with the product, you may find yourself investing more money to change the design. Again, this not only takes money, it also takes up valuable time.
To all inventors, I typically suggest a minimum of three meetings to review the design with the designer. Luckily, modern technology has made communication easy and designers can and will often email pictures of their designs to you. This means that your meetings can be virtual, which can save on the cost of transportation and time out of your schedule and the designer’s schedule.
As with any meeting in the corporate realm, someone always takes notes or minutes of the meeting to keep on file for future reference. Meetings with your designer (or anyone else involved in the invention process) are no exception. It is always a good idea for someone to take the minutes of the meeting. This not only serves as a record for what was discussed during the meeting, it also becomes a reminder of modifications or improvements, price or timeline changes etc. Having an accurate record of these discussions is vital in the event of potential issues that may arise at a later date during the invention or design process.