Fail fast and frequently…and cheaply… so experiment, prototype and test it before become too expensive.
Tom Kelley, company IDEO’s CEO, 2011
As opposed to business planning teaching in experiential approach we teach students how to develop a prototype of their products or services. A prototype is an early sample, model, draft version of a product that allows student to experiment with their ideas. In business planning we try to forecast the future because we aim to plan revenues, user reactions to our product, and customer responses to marketing activities. But how can we do that without any real feedback from the field? Such a linear approach to business might be very expensive and even tragic for young start-ups which struggle with both financial and non-financial resources.
So, don’t wait and start teaching your students how to develop a prototype and test it among their potential users. Prototyping is about thinking by hands and showing our ideas with simple and easy to use materials. It is notabout aesthetics and details.
Some tips for prototyping sessions (from http://dschool.stanford.edu):
- Start building. Even if you are not sure what you are doing, the act of picking up some materials (paper, tape, and found objects are a good way to start) will be enough to get you going.
- Focus on the story – the aesthetics is not important.
- The size is not important – the concept of a new house does not build a house, but show a model (e.g. use of LEGO bricks instead the real ones…).
- Stop wasting time on details.
- Do not spend too long on one prototype. Move on before you find yourself getting too emotionally attached to any prototype.
- Do not be in love with your idea – avoid emotional attachment.
- Do not make a final decision about the product or service before the prototype is completed
- Avoid destructive thinking – for example »It’s impossible, it’s not for us…«
- Build with the user in mind. What do you hope to test with the user? What sorts of behaviour do you expect? Answering these questions will help focus your prototyping and help you receive meaningful feedback in the testing phase.
- Identify important touch points/variables. Identify what’s being tested with each prototype. A prototype should answer a particular question when tested.