How to Get Early Feedback on Your Ideas

You’re pretty sure you’ve got a great idea? But how do you know if it works?

What is the fastest way to learn if a new solution is working? Build it and test it with customers. As children, we probably all played with Lego or building blocks of some sort. Unencumbered by responsibilities we built houses, vehicles and representations of real-world products. As adults, we have less time for thinking with our hands and we unlearn these ways of making sense of our world.

At Naked Ambition, we prototype in our workshops using paper and pen, duct tape, paper clips, and cardboard all the way up to using Lego and producing more detailed digital mockups. Being open to experimentation is a prerequisite in our book to creativity and the design thinking process. It is also beautifully captured in the pretotyping manifesto created by Alberto Savoia (@pretotyping).

Prototypes in car companies look like miniature versions of the final product. In design thinking, our prototypes are simply feedback vehicles. They may only be a component of the system. In low fidelity and in an early iteration, they may not look like the finished product. They are the minimum embodiment of an idea that you can create in order to test and get feedback. The riskiest assumption.

Experimenting with ideas through prototyping might seem like just a bit of fun and you might be thinking it is probably a waste of time when you could be building the real thing. However, prototyping actually generates meaningful results faster. By quickly making our ideas tangible we can evaluate their worth, refine through iteration and focus in on the best solution.

What if you can’t physically pick up the thing you want to prototype? Say your innovation is based around a service or an experience or even around an organisational system. In these cases, you may take a blended prototyping approach. This means that you can use a combination of making certain parts tangible and then using scenarios to explain the context of the experience. The scenario can be mapped using a film industry favourite called storyboarding to show how a customer interacts with the service.

Summary

Building to think is a methodology in design thinking. By rapidly prototyping and testing we can get feedback which allows us to iterate and build a better solution. A prototype does not only mean a physical object. It can be a service or an experience.

And if you would like further bringing your ideas to life through prototyping email us at ideas@naked-ambition.com.au

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