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Tips and Tricks to Run an Effective Prototype

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Why do we prototype ideas and what makes a good prototype? These are important questions for our community as we seek to create social impact. The core goal of a prototype is to assess the viability of an idea or a part of the idea with potential end users involved. It's worthwhile questioning some of the assumptions behind your idea and trying to test them out before spending effort developing the other 95% of the idea. A prototype can lead to surprising new insights which add fresh, human-centered perspectives to your thinking. You've already been creative in coming up with your idea – now it's time to turn that creativity to the notion of testing parts of it out. 

With these thoughts in mind, we were excited to participate over last summer  in the  IDEO.org and Acumen run free  Human Centered Design course to sharpen our skills. Their course covered a range of processes and  offered great in-depth advice on creating social impact.  We thought a couple of their resources, specifically on prototyping, could benefit the OpenIDEO community in our collective journey towards impact –
 
Packed with tips, including:
What to Prototype
Ways to Prototype
Getting Feedback
 
Guidelines and worksheets, including:
Create an Experience Map
Determine What To Prototype
Getting Started
Test Your Prototype
 
Some key points we're keen to highlight:
 
Prototype with Intention 
Devise specific questions which test parts of your idea. 
Tip: Create an Experience Map, define questions and prioritise what to prototype.
 
Be Agile
Leave room for the idea to grow from the feedback you seek from potential end users. I f possible, create a prototype that can evolve so that you can compare on contrast responses.
 
Focus on User Experience
Try to let participants experience your prototype – rather than just listen or look at a presentation / mock up – and think about ways in which you can encourage inclusive and open conversations from them.
 
Build on Feedback
Capture and curate feedback so you can improve your prototype or iterate your idea further. Make changes where folks saw barriers and build upon what was well received. Repeat feedback cycles as you continue to improve your idea.

Check these awesome examples of folks in our OpenIDEO community who have given prototyping a go during a challenge:
The Electronster
Different Generations. Shared Humanity
 
So roll up your sleeves and get prototyping! We're amped to see how your ideas will strengthen using these tips. 
 
 
 
 
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Photo of Krista Gambrel

This is an awesome write up. One thing I really loved is the focus on the user journey and product iteration. Often times people go into a prototype attempting to create the end result that is 'perfectly functional' forgetting to do the math behind it. What a great reminder to create quick prototypes, refine the feedback loop to gain insight before making final iterations of any project or product.

Photo of Irene Blas

Very useful guidance for prototyping. Thank you!

Photo of Fkisa04 .

thanx for sharing this piece i got some more insight on prototyping from this

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DeletedUser

Great concept. I like it. thank you for post it here.

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DeletedUser

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Photo of Alaine Newland

Great resource! Thanks for sharing.