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Many people think that Startup weekends are just for those looking to develop apps or software. This is far from the truth, your idea could just as easily be a service or a tangible product, but is this possible in 54 hours?


Tangible product I hear you say, can you actually develop a piece of working hardware within a weekend? Well it all depends on what it is, maybe a simple device might be created as a proof of principle (POP) model. As the name suggests this wouldn’t be the final product but, a model that will provides confidence that the idea is viable.

So how can you make this model? 3D printing springs to mind. This will require a 3D model to be created and then be printed. In most cases this is a sensible route to take but, if you have only 54 hours it could be a lot of time spent to find the model doesn’t perform as you expected.

A better approach is to think laterally. What about the materials you have close at hand in an office, paper, glue, cardboard, sticky tape (Think Blue Peter)?


Maybe you can hack an existing bought product? Fortunately Futurelabs is in Leeds city centre with loads of shops that might just have the thing you need to adapt, to make your POP model. The other big advantage of this approach is you learn as you create, you might need to pivot on the design while making your model.


Best not to lose site of the whole product offering. Marketing, business model and validation are just as important as the design and execution for the Startup weekend judges. However the most important thing is to have fun creating stuff with a fab team.

 Peter Roll, Design and Development Engineer for Roll Design. @peteroll

Helena Habdija