The value of ideas in a contemporary and typically chaotic creative landscape can be found when implementing practical measures to transform them into tangible, feasible solutions that can withstand real-world testing. A myriad of complex challenges arise when building creative business models, and the time, cost and resource requirements are considerable.
However, in the ‘new’ digital age, it is possible to unlock rapid value through agile digital development. This can be done utilising tools such as prototyping (which is an initial stage of a software release, where developmental evolution and product fixes may occur before a bigger release is initiated) to realise complex solutions. This is followed by meticulous user testing, multiple iterations and the natural evolution towards better build versions, all while keeping costs to a minimum and working at a considerable pace.
Great design through iteration and evolution
Prototyping is an intrinsic element of User Experience Design. In an agile workspace quick success is sought through the development of new user flow patterns, upon which improved iterations are achieved and the application as a whole is significantly enhanced. For the human-focused designer, rapid prototyping is perhaps the most effective method for learning, allowing for faster feedback from the end-user. This ensures your current build is sufficient only to test your theory, before implementing user feedback to strive for further improvement in the next iteration of your build.
Speed and agility as a priority
History suggests that our ideas might be wrong the first time. Subsequently, many early prototypes end up invalidated and discarded. If this is the case, it would therefore stand to reason that rapid prototyping is opted for. In building initial solutions there may be an inherent level of complexity in the early prototype. Furthermore, speed and agile improvement should take priority to build, implement, test and improve until the agile sprint cycle is concluded, and leverage the numerous powerful software solutions to augment this process.
The art of failing fast
Failure is not only important, but often times, essential. It is imperative that we fail fast and learn from such failure in order to navigate and refine fail factors in future builds, thereby constantly improving the process over time.
Rinse and repeat
The true value of prototyping is unlocked in iteration; running through the process repeatedly to create unconscious pathways and habits for success. Although this seems at odds with the desire to develop finished products, which are perfect the first time around, the adoption of a mindset of “whatever is added or adapted will be short-lived, until the next iteration” is key. The Japanese philosophy of kaizen, meaning ‘improvement’, leverages the power of iteration. A product with multiple iterations will always be superior and unlock more value than a product that is thoroughly designed to be as ‘finished’ as possible in the initial build.
Rapid prototyping yields considerable benefits in the quest for innovative breakthroughs and market share acquisition. This happens by allowing innovators an opportunity to make improvements very early in the design stage, reducing uncertainties about solution designs, features and benefits and improving go-to-market times. These benefits are not limited to one sector, but translate to diverse industries ranging from tech, retail, healthcare and beyond.
Adopted entirely and in ubiquity, from initial concept evaluation right through to post-production analysis, the value unlocked from rapid prototyping presents with it numerous possibilities that are far too significant to overlook.