I strongly believe that prototyping is essential for innovation.
Recently, I was a guest on Kevin Craine's podcast, Everyday MBA, where we discussed the innovation process. Innovation is iterative, messy, and non-linear. It's a few steps forward, then often a few steps back. This is why I encourage teams to create prototypes on a minimal scale with limited investment, with the expectation that they will fail- and that it is an excellent learning opportunity.
Simple materials like Play-Doh, pipe cleaners, or aluminum foil can be enough for physical ideas. Storyboards, flowcharts, or even short skits can vividly portray the envisioned customer experience for experiential concepts. By doing so, you invite invaluable feedback.
Everything can be prototyped: an idea, a service, an experience, a reorg…If you cannot figure out how to prototype something, please reach out, and I will gladly suggest options.
In the corporate world, we are always looking for perfection. However, I learned that showing imperfect, raw prototypes makes people feel more comfortable offering feedback, leading to more insightful suggestions.
Early prototypes provide feedback quickly and cheaply, allowing you to modify and retest rather than spending the cost of a team over a long period, only to discover much later that your idea has flaws.
As you and your team progress along the innovation journey, embrace the messiness of the creativity process and incorporate opportunities for feedback along the way.
And I like to embrace what I recommend in my own business. So I am applying the prototyping concept to offer for the first time to my readers a Book Club adventure - learn more here.
P.S. Here are 3 ways to get support about your innovation challenges and teams collaboration.