PROTOTYPES: THE AGILE GUINEA PIGS
Whether paperboards, 3D-models or click-dummies: prototypes support successful realization
In a nutshell: prototypes are the first creative execution of an idea. The initial realization of a new product or service in a very simple way. It is not a “perfect version”. But a rude one, that makes the values of a new idea visually and physically come to live. How do users experience functions and features? Does the idea and its functionalities meet user requirements and demands? Is added value created?
Main focus is to make ideas experienceable for users – quickly and agilely. That means: visualize main functions. Create and shape basic features commonly with users. Express services and unique features. Quickly conduct tests in relevant markets + continuously, iteratively improve prototypes.
Without huge planning efforts or high costs. By prototypes, innovations are based on user demands from the beginning. From idea to realization stages of a new product or service. Thus, prospects of success are maximized. Because: opinions of relevant target groups are implied from day one. Questions and inconsistencies are clarified directly. Requirements are further developed continuously – step by step. Problems and errors are eliminated before huge costs arise. Thus, prototyping is also positive for trust and team spirit of all stakeholders. Transparency and direct honest feedback from scratch. A picture is worth a thousand words – a prototype is worth a 1.000 pictures…
How does a prototype of an idea come to live? Whenever an idea and it’s basic features are created, you can start to develop a prototype. First, it is useful to bring essentials to paper – simple sketches, brainstorming’s + external impulses. To bring sketches to live, there are many different prototyping methods and tools. It does not matter whether you use pen & paper, cardboards, Lego, 3D-printing or one of the many prototyping tools like Balsamiq or Invision. What matter is a good idea. Creativity. Courage. Functionality. Clearness. And a good preparation.
While prototyping there are no limits. A good prototype is not the one with a perfect or detailed design, but an agilely and quickly developed trial version that point out functionalities and design for the user – so that a rapid feedback is enabled.
Our experience from EARLY BRANDS: the most promising prototype is not the one with the straightest lines or the most perfect design. A perfect and detailed design is not the alpha and omega. Functionality is much more important. Thus: the most promising prototype is the one that enables to answer questions. That visualizes and illustrates ideas simply and comprehensively. A prototype, that challenges, optimizes and aligns ideas to the user. And thus bring ideas to the next level. Tests are made with real user + a build-measure-learn attitude.
To make a long story short: prototypes are experiments. Fast, agile and creative tests. Whether cardboards, styrofoam or virtual click dummies: costs are kept low. Ideas are developed iteratively, in line with the market and put into implementation stages quickly and agilely. Thus, success is ensured from the beginning.
Catch the Future…!