When you need to quickly evaluate whether or not an idea is worthwhile (or will even work), that’s where prototyping comes in. Over at The Amsterdam School of Leadership (or THNK), they’ve broken down the advantages and mindsets required for serious prototyping:

It is virtually impossible to develop creative solutions to complex challenges and get this perfectly right the first time around. Hence prototyping…we have noticed that true innovation leadership means adopting a number of mindsets when prototyping…

Think with your hands. Building a concrete and tangible prototype taps a different source of creativity…When the creator moves his energy from his head to his hands, the idea often improves…Building the prototype surfaces potential misunderstandings, different interpretations or assumptions, and then resolves them.

Bias towards action. …Stop talking about it and do it, build it! One of the big insights from data about prototyping contests is that teams that start building immediately end up with better results than teams that analyze and plan before they start building.

Celebrate Failure. …If the prototype runs smoothly, nothing new will be learned. And prototyping is all about learning! So failures are to be expected and innovation leadership even seeks them out, as long as you get feedback on what went wrong.

Quick and dirty. Rapid prototyping is about churning out one prototype after another. This means resisting the tendency to improve and perfect things before testing them….For a new variation to be born, an old one must die.

Of course, to get the absolute best benefits from prototyping your ideas or solutions, you have to go into the process with the right mindset (and tools). Thankfully THNK covers these mindsets in detail, plus a few tools to help you with your prototypes, over on their website.

  • Karim Benammar

    @tannerc: Great distillation of the hands-on essentials of prototyping: stay aware of these four mindsets.

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