By Laila Rühl
Ready to take the next step on the Talent learning journey with us? After collecting deep insights and brainstorming out-of-the-box solutions for the corporate innovation challenge, it is finally time to roll up our sleeves to create, hack & build outstanding prototypes in the experimental phase of the ZOLLHOF Talent Program.
If you have followed the journey up until now it doesn’t come as a surprise that we’re advancing to the final presentation of the Talent Program with huge steps. If you want to catch up on how the journey started you can check out our prior blog articles on Customer & Problem Discovery, Teambuilding & Personal Goals and Ideation & Storytelling of this series and don’t miss our prototyping tool recommendations at the end of this article!
Workshop №4: Rapid Prototyping
During the fourth workshop, our talents took deep dive on how to translate their innovative solution into a ready-to-use prototype!
Before we enter the crucial steps on the road of setting up your prototype let us explain the concept real quick: a prototype is something that you create with the explicit understanding that it is not the finished experience but instead is intended to be a stepping stone along the way to the finished experience. Hence, it is all about trying out an idea, testing it, learning, and communicating it to others. Always remember, the primary goal of every prototype is to evaluate your idea! So, let’s jump right into it and boost your prototyping knowledge!
5 Steps of Prototyping
- Step 1: Develop Analogs / Antilogs: Use the knowledge and expertise of the ecosystem, where possible, but carefully test the other parts and features by prototyping them. To be able to do this, this step is all about identifying so-called analogs and antilogs of your project. Analogs can be defined as innovations that are new to us but can be adapted and learned from others proven methods. Whereas, antilogs can be described as ideas that are completely or partly new to the market. Therefore, antilogs are the promising areas worth exploring, which you should approach by formulating hypotheses as a basis.
- Step 2: Ranking of Antilogs: There are plenty of antilogs in every project! In order to stick with the most important ones, this step’s mission is to rank and discover the most promising ones. Check out the importance & uncertainty grid as a valuable method! As you might have guessed it, focus on antilogs which are both very important and very uncertain.
- Step 3: Hypothesis Development: Yeah! You’ve made it to the next step of the prototyping journey: the hypothesis development! Hypothesis’ state predictions about what your research will find. It is a provisional answer to your antilog, which needs to be tested and for that a threshold is required! Meaning a fail vs. pass metric, for which percentage your hypothesis fails and for which it passes — reminds you of statistics lecture, doesn’t it? After you’ve set up your hypothesis, it’s all about transfering your idea to the real world! Thus, create your design on paper — remember, it does not have to be fancy, it is all about testing!
- Step 4: Prototype Development — From Idea to Reality: How can you test your prototype? This stage offers a variety of use-stage-appropriate techniques, which should be tailored to the progress and the accuracy of your project. An appropriate technique with low accuracy for the beginning of the process could be for example Thinking-out-loud actions, whereas examples for methods with advanced accuracy rather at a later stage are MVP Video prototyping or the application of markup languages like HTML. Explore a vast toolbox of testing techniques!
- Step 5: Testing with Prototypes: Always remember, it is not about selling an idea, it is about TESTING! Observe and note down everything you notice during the testing stage of your chosen target group. In order to revise and enhance the prototype feedback is key! So make this last step of your prototyping process count in order to gain valuable insights!
On your way to becoming a prototype master? Then these tools and recommendations of our Talent Program Lead Max could be of interest to you! A nice and easy prototyping tool for beginners is Figma, for which endless tutorials such as a beginner guide or a low fidelity wireframe explanation can be found online!
In case you can not get enough of design thinking methods, we have something for you! Learn and apply ideation and prototyping skills in practice by joining our Talent Program! Apply now!