A creative network of the idea, by the idea, for the idea

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prototype early, prototype a lot.

I can't help but to feel envy while reading The Art of Innovation by Thomas Kelley.
In every page you can find a story that could change your work culture or your approach to brainstorming. But the part that I'm finding the most breakthrough and helpful is the prototyping chapter.

By executing a prototype you start the process of discovering and improving, eventually resulting in "making" your idea happen. These are some of the principles:
Prototyping is problem solving. It's a culture and a language. What counts is moving the ball forward, achieving some part of your goal.
Prototyping is a state of mind.
No matter your business, no matter your experience, odds are the water is rising, you don't have time, and if you don't act soon, the project will be underwater.
If you keep trying on new techniques you'd make dramatic improvements. Childlike curiosity and enthusiasm, a playful iterative approach to problems. Boyle's law: Never go to a meeting without a prototype.
Make mistakes - and discoveries - as soon as possible.
In engineering, if you have more variables than equations you normally have an unsolvable situation. But in the other hand, if you take some good guesses and fill in the blanks on some of them, you'll get some answers.

The birth of Amazon.com was lunched on the run. Prototyping is about acting before you've got the answers, about taking chances, stumbling a little but then making it right.

In 19914 Bezos scratch on a paper a list of things that he could sell online, got on a truck and headed west without a clear destination.

The enxt time you kick off a project, try tackling problems when you don't have the answers.

Once you start drawing or making thing, you open up new possibilities of discovery. Doodling, drawing, modeling, sketch ideas and make things, and you're likely yo encourage accidental discoveries.
A picture is worth a thousand words. And a prototype is worth a thousand pictures.
I believe that prototyping is perhaps the single most important concept to embrace to make things happen.

Take a step forward, see where you go. No matter if you fall, you'll be a step closer to your goal.