—The conventional view of new product development (NPD) methodologies focuses on marketing and commercial prospects in developed countries. There is a need to identify both the barriers and the enablers to design within a rural context in developing countries (DC). Method
—A researcher was embedded in a rural DC design project. Issues were observed and critical success and failure factors determined. These were abstracted into a set of design principles, and a new model of the NPD process was created. Findings
—Whereas commercial NPD emphasizes market intelligence and a highly directive approach to the engineering workflow, in the DC situation the objective is to fulfil community needs and this necessitates co-determination regarding the engineering. There is commonality between the two NPD processes, with ours having a greater emphasis on the socio-cultural factors. The deployment principles are categorized into technical and socio-cultural. Within these are included project management, design, material selection, visualization, communication, maintainability, safety, and health. Originality
—A novel representation of the process for conducting design in developing countries is provided. Critical success factors are identified. The socio-cultural perspective is explicitly included, which is absent from the conventional engineering and business perspectives.