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How does someone pitch an idea to a development company?

radiofreebc
Level 2
I come into this fully understanding that ideas are a dime a dozen and, unless someone has put in the time/effort, there's no point in developers wasting time on mediocre ideas from below-average people.  That being said...I am someone with a clear idea of a VR project that I would love to pitch to a developer/development team...so I'll put it out there, expecting criticism for what is usually a pretty useless topic in any professional forum.   

How does someone with a VR project that he understands will take significant talent/resources/innovation to accomplish go about FORMATTING A PROPOSAL to present to developers/development companies capable of handling a project of that scale? 

I know ideas are cheap (and everywhere), I know companies already have a lot on their plates, and I know something has to be pretty good to take people off other work.  But are there examples, or is there advice here (or anywhere), on how to FORMAT A PROPOSAL to developers/development companies?  I can't imagine that every successful video game in the history of video games came from a coder/programmer/designer...and I'm sure users do sometimes have good ideas, but just need professionals to help their dreams become reality...and I know there are pros out there that would love to work on a truly cutting edge project.  I'm hoping that I can find advice on how to FORMAT A PROPOSAL that helps me express my idea in a way that's understood, and taken seriously...especially knowing that many (if not most) ideas aren't taken seriously. 

Please again note that I am NOT asking for development help right now, or any critique of my idea (or ideas in general)...or criticism for not just developing this myself.  I am simply asking if there is any help/examples/advice on how to FORMAT A PROPOSAL to present to a development company, so they would actually legitimately consider it.  Are there guidelines/standards/examples to follow?  Is there anyone lurking who knows what makes a good or bad proposal?  Is there anyone with an example of a good or bad proposal?  Any differences between pitching to investors and pitching to developers?  Any insights into the process?

Again, I understand companies have a lot on their plates, that this is usually a low-quality question, and that ideas are cheap.  I also know that, not in a million years, would I ever have the technical skill to even begin to develop this on my own.  I would need to jack myself into the Matrix and download coding tutorials for decades before I'd be able to make all the elements of my idea work, even in a way I'd be able to demo to developers/investors.  Because of that fact, I would be willing to hand over complete ownership of the idea.  This project would be extremely sophisticated and challenging to produce/maintain, by even industry/professional standards. This is something I've never seen before, and I know that even if I became a programming genius, I'd still never be able to pull off what I want to accomplish.  I'd still love to be a part of the team developing it, because my professional experience would be useful, and I have a clearly defined and focused concept. 

It's a cool idea, even if talk is cheap.  I just need help formatting it in a way professionals would respond positively to.

11 REPLIES 11

delphinius81
Level 8
Lots of good ideas in this thread. Let me throw my 2 cents in as well. I spent 5 years writing R&D proposals to government agencies related to educational/serious game development, training simulations, health technology, and VR. Projects that were funded, I managed and acted as lead designer/developer. One thing to keep in mind is that in my case I was proposing an idea that I wanted funded so that my company could do the work. I'm not sure your situation is that you are seeking funding or you have money and are seeking a team. Regardless of your situation, the actual proposal is going to look pretty similar.

So, on to the important things to include in your proposal.

0: If you are sharing a proposal with other individual or private entities, get a mutual-NDA signed before sending over ANYTHING that details your idea. If you don't, you will have little, and possibly even no, legal recourse if they steal your idea. You can go to rocket lawyer and for 5 bucks, get a NDA drafted. If you are dealing with an established organization, they will probably have a lawyer that can draw up an NDA too. Get this in place ASAP.

1: What is the problem or issue that your idea is going to solve? Whether you are proposing an entertainment product, piece of art, or serious application, you are ultimately trying to solve a problem. It could be figuring out a new interaction mechanism for VR, exploring VR as an emerging art form, or making it easier for people to see what VR is like - there is something there that your idea is aiming to address. Make sure the person reading your proposal understands not only the problem, but also why the existing solutions do not work well enough. If you are building a game, why do we need another Type-X game with hints of game-Y?

2: What is your solution to this problem/issue? Imagine you are presenting an onion to someone. There are many layers to this onion, and you will eventually explain each layer. But to start, explain the outer most layer. What will your solution do? How will it be used? Why should it be built? Why is your idea the one that will solve the problem? This is your chance to sell your idea as one of the ways to solve the problem. Try to keep this section brief - 2-3 paragraphs, some bullet points, maybe a concept figure.

3: Ok, I'm interested, what do you think is needed to build it? If you have done your job of selling your idea as a solution to the problem, and the reader agrees that the problem is worth solving, then they'll want to know about what you think actually needs to get done. What are the high level tasks? How long do you think it should take to build a first version? What are the risks associated with the tasks? This is your chance to start peeling back the layers of the onion. If you are trying to hire a development team, this would detail the specific tasks and work that team should work on. Quick tangent, I've done contract work for other companies, as an individual contractor and as a sub-contractor at my R&D job, and the absolute worst thing is when the entity you are working for does not give very clear tasks and expectations of should be done.

4. We can build it, but will it sell? Congrats! You have a prototype / MVP. But did the market you just built this product for want it? What indications are there that this work was actually worth pursuing. Tying shoes as a kid is hard - we have a problem! - and someone could probably spend a fortune building a robot to automate shoe-tying - we have a solution!. But would anyone actually buy this shoe-tying robot instead of spending 5 minutes watching a youtube video? This section is probably more important when you are writing a proposal that is asking for money, as your investors want to know it won't go to waste.

Anyway, feel free to PM me if you have questions, or want someone to review your proposal draft.


@delphinius81 wrote:
Lots of good ideas in this thread. Let me throw my 2 cents in as well. I spent 5 years writing R&D proposals to government agencies related to educational/serious game development, training simulations, health technology, and VR. Projects that were funded, I managed and acted as lead designer/developer. One thing to keep in mind is that in my case I was proposing an idea that I wanted funded so that my company could do the work. I'm not sure your situation is that you are seeking funding or you have money and are seeking a team. Regardless of your situation, the actual proposal is going to look pretty similar.

So, on to the important things to include in your proposal.

0: If you are sharing a proposal with other individual or private entities, get a mutual-NDA signed before sending over ANYTHING that details your idea. If you don't, you will have little, and possibly even no, legal recourse if they steal your idea. You can go to rocket lawyer and for 5 bucks, get a NDA drafted. If you are dealing with an established organization, they will probably have a lawyer that can draw up an NDA too. Get this in place ASAP.

1: What is the problem or issue that your idea is going to solve? Whether you are proposing an entertainment product, piece of art, or serious application, you are ultimately trying to solve a problem. It could be figuring out a new interaction mechanism for VR, exploring VR as an emerging art form, or making it easier for people to see what VR is like - there is something there that your idea is aiming to address. Make sure the person reading your proposal understands not only the problem, but also why the existing solutions do not work well enough. If you are building a game, why do we need another Type-X game with hints of game-Y?

2: What is your solution to this problem/issue? Imagine you are presenting an onion to someone. There are many layers to this onion, and you will eventually explain each layer. But to start, explain the outer most layer. What will your solution do? How will it be used? Why should it be built? Why is your idea the one that will solve the problem? This is your chance to sell your idea as one of the ways to solve the problem. Try to keep this section brief - 2-3 paragraphs, some bullet points, maybe a concept figure.

3: Ok, I'm interested, what do you think is needed to build it? If you have done your job of selling your idea as a solution to the problem, and the reader agrees that the problem is worth solving, then they'll want to know about what you think actually needs to get done. What are the high level tasks? How long do you think it should take to build a first version? What are the risks associated with the tasks? This is your chance to start peeling back the layers of the onion. If you are trying to hire a development team, this would detail the specific tasks and work that team should work on. Quick tangent, I've done contract work for other companies, as an individual contractor and as a sub-contractor at my R&D job, and the absolute worst thing is when the entity you are working for does not give very clear tasks and expectations of should be done.

4. We can build it, but will it sell? Congrats! You have a prototype / MVP. But did the market you just built this product for want it? What indications are there that this work was actually worth pursuing. Tying shoes as a kid is hard - we have a problem! - and someone could probably spend a fortune building a robot to automate shoe-tying - we have a solution!. But would anyone actually buy this shoe-tying robot instead of spending 5 minutes watching a youtube video? This section is probably more important when you are writing a proposal that is asking for money, as your investors want to know it won't go to waste.

Anyway, feel free to PM me if you have questions, or want someone to review your proposal draft.

Just a simple idea. One thats cheap but helps with immersion in windy weather. Allow bluetooth fans to activate according to the flow of wind upon the player. People can place them anywhere they want and they can be cheap to make and cheap to buy. The setup can just be "use fan 1 as front fan, use fan 2 as front left and so on." People should be allowed to put them in any order they want and i feel like this doesn't need more explanations.