As great as prototyping is, it is not always the most valuable exercise.
- Prototyping is a core skill in design thinking, but it isn't always the right activity for every challenge you'll face in the design process. In the context of today's business world design thinking is a making-based approach to problem solving that's rooted in human empathy, and done in collaborative multidisciplinary teams. Prototyping is one of the key methods for effective making and exploration of solutions. But you need to ask yourself if now is the right time in your project to create a prototype.
There are two major pitfalls I often see with teams, they either don't have a fully formed idea to work from, or they're getting trapped in the details prematurely. This is when you should stop and ask yourself a few questions. First off, is your idea complete? Secondly, are you getting distracted by details instead of answering the tough questions? Prototyping is great for exploring how ideas can be realized and to generate different ways an idea can be expressed, but it's important to have a concept or an idea to start with, otherwise you risk making without a clear reason and goal.
We love to make solutions and to refine the details, but keep an eye out to make sure you're not falling into that detail trap where you're actually avoiding the heart of the solution just to improve the little details of your prototype.
- The four categories of prototyping
- Choosing the right approach
- Deciding what to prototype
- Generating ideas rapidly
- Documenting and conveying
- Using simulations
- Creating objects
- Making a prototype