This article is long overdue, for many reasons. One is because Prototyping has moved beyond the design and tech world where it originated into the business world. Another is because there is no better time for businesses to embrace this practice than now.
In this extremely competitive age, where 10 year old companies disrupt 200 year old industries (case in point: Airbnb and the hotel/hospitality industry), where consumers have the power to destroy a company’s reputation in seconds or increase its revenue with just the click of a button. Prototyping is incredibly important and beneficial to businesses.
In this post I will break it down so every business leader, from the budding start-up founder, to the strategy and product head in an established corporation understands fully what it is and more importantly why it is beneficial to their enterprise.
So what is Prototyping, it is a process in design, and the 4th step in the increasingly popular design thinking process (more on this below), that allows businesses, and product teams to test quickly and cheaply their intended products and services with customers before proceeding to further develop and launch these offerings in market.
Prototyping gives businesses the opportunity to place products, services (or ads) that are still being developed into the hands of potential customers, to see if these solutions answer a need in the market, and to see if they could potentially be successful in the market. Prototyping gives you an opportunity to learn what could be changed about your offering, to better suit consumers and give you valuable feedback from users for improvement.
A prototype is a tangible thing customers can hold, interact with, and experience. It can be a paper mockup, a cardboard cutout, digital mockup, or a human interaction where you act out a scenario. Whatever the case, the goal is to create a tangible and immersive experience that allows the user (aka customer) understand and fully experience the product or service. That way their feedback is real and authentic.
Companies that have prototyped i.e. tested their offerings in this way, have increased their solutions’ chances in the market drastically, as well as discovered hidden opportunities for innovation. PillPack, the company Amazon recently acquired for almost $1 Billion dollars is known to have prototyped almost every part of its business, even it’s value proposition.
DODO holding a Protoyping Workshop
For those who might be living under a rock, I’ll quickly break down the Design Thinking methodology, where Prototyping originated from. Design thinking simply put, is a process that uses creative tools and methods to solve complex problems. For a business, Design Thinking has become a way to incorporate design practices within business to innovate, delight customers, remain competitive in the market, to dominate the market and be profitable long term.
Protoyping is the 4th Stage in the Design Thinking process
To learn more how some of the world’s largest brands use Design, read our series here.
Why Business should Prototype:
- To get your product or service out fast, to gain valuable feedback from customers
- To help your team get the information and insights they need to iterate on the offering for a better market fit.
- To help you get better offerings to market faster reducing the risk, time and resources spent releasing unwanted products and services
- To better meet customer needs
- And to find growth opportunities for your company.
We’re running a Prototyping Workshop in a few months, go here to learn more about it.