As the story goes, Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon.com sketched the outline for the online giant while sitting in a car on the move from New York to Seattle. Just a bunch of drawings, lists and some feedback phone calls – a rapid prototype would soon become the biggest company in the world.

It’s a skill as old as time itself, however if you’re anything like us, the words ‘rapid prototype’ conjure up images of 80’s robots and the insides of a computer. 

Despite sounding quite technical – rapid prototyping is not just for developing apps or people building electric cars at Tesla.  Anyone and everyone in enterprise can (and probably should) adopt this powerful skill and mindset to launch a project.

There are three types of rapid prototypes - storyboards, paper prototypes and digital prototypes.  But it's storyboards we love most – they are simple, very effective and don’t cost a thing. 

Just like screenwriters do in showbiz, storyboarding is about showing the journey of a person. Except rather than a character, it’s the user or customer journey that you want to focus on. The role of a storyboard prototype is to understand how your customers will interact with your product or project. And the best part? No artistic ability required. 

How will it improve the way I work?   

One of the biggest benefits of storyboard prototypes is their ability to help us focus. Ever find yourself wondering what area of the project / product / idea needs the most resources?

Worried if you are heading in the right direction with this plan?

Not even sure if this is something your clients REALLY want?  

Start with storyboard.

Three ways these babies will help improve the way you work.

1. Getting ideas out of your head and into the world (on to paper) 

“The scariest moment is always right before you start.” Stephen King said this of writing. But it also applIes to speaking in public, waxing your upper lip and launching a new idea.

It’s the reason so many awesome projects NEVER HAPPEN.  

Most of us have been in that situation where a project or idea spends ‘too long in the blocks’. When the planning phase gets out of control and any efforts for innovation or change are stifled by the perceived amount of work to create something new.  By learning how to create storyboard prototypes you and your team can avoid starting line paralysis. In our Design Thinking workshops we teach you the storyboarding techniques used by the best of the best from Silicon Valley LA to Spring Street Melbourne.  

2. Getting valuable feedback from your ‘user’

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw

Feedback. Get it early and get it from the right people. Gaining valuable feedback early from your user (that is your clients, colleagues or basically anyone who will be impacted by what you want to create) will help you create a far superior result. This feedback loop is the cornerstone of the human-centred design movement.

However, articulating a new idea or a project plan can be hard without something tangible to hang it on – this is where the storyboard prototype really shines. This early version of your product opens you up to better feedback through interaction with your concept and you can walk team members (or even your customer) through the journey of how it will work.

A super simple storyboard prototype will help you ensure that critical communication phase has taken place and avoid wasting time, money and resources.

3. Looking awesome in front of your boss (and get buy in for your idea)

Showing that you have thought about a solution to rather than just bringing your boss (another) problem is guaranteed to get you points.  If you have put significant thought into that solution AND actually tested it on people – well that’s triple points!

Some people shy away from storyboarding or paper prototypes because it may look a too basic, but in fact it is the simplicity that offers the magic.

Don’t assume that the most senior people in your company will naturally understand your concept from the start. In fact because they are probably the most time poor, this is the group where you need to be the most clear and pronounced on what your idea is and what the benefits are (or how amazing they could be!)

If you want more quick tips on why prototyping is amazing (and also how to dance like a dork) Watch our video here or if your ready to learn about the wonderful world of rapid prototyping and how it can change the way you work, let’s chat.