The power of prototyping in solving problems
We get comfortable in our habits of doing what we do. How often do we take an objective step and carefully look at our 'system' of doing things? Whether it be managing a client or designing a visual communications campaign, we get trapped in our habits of doing things without questioning it. (video)
We are happy to present client strategy or creative concept with campaign and back it up with a successful case study of how the particular campaign worked for another brand. Or even by a Harvard University article of why we should go in the proposed direction. Isn't this the problem right there? We present something that has already been done.
Marty Neumeier explains how we use two steps to create things. We know something and then we take action and do it. We disregard or forget about the middle and most important step of 'making' or 'prototyping' the idea. We take what we know and do it. The middle step of making gives us an objective look at the idea and possible insights to innovate or build on it, therefore improve it. You essentially expand the range of things you know.
Simple and effective explanation
Neumeier provides a very simple and effective explanation of the importance of prototyping in his innovation workshop below.
Marty Neumeier innovation workshop:
The theatre play needs to be prototyped to perfection before it is even rehearsed for its special performance to the public. Prototyping has always been an essential part of engineering and design, but one can use the power of it in intangible provisions such as services and campaigns more often.
Building on the success of others
For example, look at the evolution from the Walkman to the iPod. This innovation teaches us that we can build on the success of others, but by prototyping it and make the complete journey faster, easier and more accessible. I'm not struggling to get a song from Peter's tape, I can buy it instantly from iTunes and a whole lot more, because I have more choice and my iPod also has more space. It is critical to prototype in order to gain more insight into the end user. Here follows a great example of Tesco's Subway stores in South Korea - bringing in store shopping to the consumer:
The companies that embrace prototyping frequently will be at forefront of business and they will create the best solutions to challenges consumers face, as they will have great insight to the user-experience gained from the prototype test.
"To achieve originality we need to abandon the comforts of habit, reason, and the approval of our peers, and strike out in new directions." - The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier
About Reghard Goussard
CEO at Arctic Circle Brand Institute