Prototyping, when it’s done right, isn't always a matter of starting from scratch. It’s about cobbling things together from materials at hand and boldly going into the unknown. This was especially so for Sara Blakely before she founded Spanx. With no experience in the garment industry, she needed to figure out how and whether her idea for sheer, hosiery-based undergarments could work. Her successful and in many ways prototypical experience offers a readymade guide to the prototyping process.
(calm music) … - When you have no business background … and you've never worked in fashion or retail … and you don't know anyone in the garment industry, … making your own prototypes is quite hilarious. … So I was taking my own pantyhose, cutting the feet off … and going to Michael's and Hancock Fabrics, … and all the chain arts and crafts stores … and buying elastic, and, I mean, … at one point I even paperclipped it to the bottom, … and, you know, then I was trying … to hand-stitch it to the bottom just to keep it down myself, … and when I realized that wasn't really working, … I then had to turn to the manufacturing plants, … and then that took us on a one-year experimentation … with the machines of trying to figure out … how to knit the bands softly … so it wouldn't dig into the woman's leg, but stay down, … and that's how I prototyped to begin with. … But I literally went to the manufacturer … and I had all these other products that I liked, … and I was able to explain … what I liked about each one of them, …
This course includes videos from:
A.G. Lafley, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble
Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO.org and a leading voice on the value of design thinking
Sara Blakely, founder and owner of Spanx
Todd Yellin, vice president of product innovation at Netflix
Matt Dixon, global head of salesforce effectiveness at Korn/Ferry International
Note: This course was produced by Big Think. We are pleased to host this content in our library.